Palace, groups welcome TRO vs cybercrime law-A A +A
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
MANILA (Updated) -- Malacañang and the Justice department said they will abide by the Supreme Court’s (SC) temporary restraining order (TRO) on the implementation of the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Fourteen justices of the SC voted on Tuesday to temporarily stop the implementation of the much-criticized law. The decision came out as the Department of Justice was wrapping up a forum with online users and information technology representatives regarding the details of the law.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace respects the SC's injunction on the new law, adding that it is only a provisional remedy and should not in any way be construed as a judgment on the merits of the anti-cybercrime law.
"The administration will always respect the legal processes that are issued by the court," Valte said.
"We respect and we'll abide by it. We will present the arguments outlined in the historic forum on cybercrime earlier formally before the High Court in due time. Our advocacy for a safe cyberspace and interdiction of organized crime will continue," said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
Valte said Malacañang will issue further comment after it receives a copy of the TRO.
"We would like to take a look at the specifics of the TRO. I have received information also, initial information that the TRO is directed to some particular provisions. We’d also like to take a look at that first," she said.
Lawmakers who filed separate petitions questioning RA 10175 lauded the SC decision.
However, party-list Representatives Raymond Palatino (Kabataan) and Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna) said netizens should remain vigilant until the contentious provisions of the law are deleted.
"The credit must go to both the online and offline protesters who lambasted onion-skinned politicians and courted being charged with libel," Colmenares said.
"This is an opportunity for the Palace to retract its hard-line position on the issue, as we now have tangible proof that several of the law’s provisions are unconstitutional and post threats to our countrymen’s civil liberties," said Palatino, who, along with Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño, filed House Bill 6613 to repeal certain provisions of RA 10175, including online libel.
Bloggers and netizens, who were among those who filed the petition, rejoiced over the TRO.
"If confirmed, this is a victory for citizens vigilant about their freedoms and about democracy online and offline," said Tonyo Cruz of the newly formed group Bloggers and Netizens for Democracy (Band).
Cruz described the report as "bad news for President Aquino but good news for netizens of world's social media capital."
RA 10175 was signed by President Benigno Aquino III on September 12, in hope to address crimes committed with the use of the Internet and other electronic communication.
Cruz said the fight continues online and offline until the court decides to side with petitioners and nullify the law.
"We look forward to the oral arguments that -- with a vigilant citizenry online and offline -- the law would be struck down and get replaced by a new law that promotes freedoms and democracy,” he said.
In Davao City, various groups also welcomed the SC’s decision.
Stella A. Estremera, Sun.Star Davao editor-in-chief, said despite the issuance of the TRO, educating the public will still proceed to protect basic civil rights.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Davao echoed the same sentiment.
"We owe it to the people who have stood up for their rights, for being defiant, not backing down to such machinations of authorities to wrest away from the people whatever is left of their hard-won freedoms," said NUJP-Davao chair Jessie Casalda.
The Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao Region also hailed the issuance of the TRO, but also called on the SC "to make this TRO a permanent one."
Also, the NUJP-Cagayan de Oro chapter (NUJP-CDO) continues to be vigilant despite the issuance of the TRO. Its members, together with other journalists and civic organizations, held a “silent” march Tuesday afternoon in Cagayan de Oro. (ANC of Sun.Star Davao/Abigail Chee Kee Malalis of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Sunnex)