SC justice asked to inhibit on petitions vs cybercrime law-A A +A
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
MANILA -- Two media groups asked Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco to step aside in the hearing of the merits on the consolidated petition seeking to scrap the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 either in whole or part.
In a four-page motion for inhibition filed on Monday, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) said Velasco may no longer be objective because of his previous run-in with noted investigative reporter Marites Vitug.
Velasco had filed two libel suits against Vitug, for an online article posted in ABS-CBNnews.com/Newsbreak (13 counts, one for each day that it remained on the website), and another for "Shadow of Doubt", her book about corruption in the judiciary.
In a statement, the NUJP said they have been informed by Vitug that Velasco already withdrew the cases in June and July 2012, respectively. However, the NUJP and PPI believe Velasco’s impartiality will remain in question.
The consolidated petition, containing 15 petitions from bloggers and social media network users, militants, and journalist, were raffled to Velasco.
They saw Republic Act 10175 as unconstitutional because provisions like online libel allegedly violate the freedom of expression, due process, equal protection, the right to privacy and correspondence, and the right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Last week, the justices unanimously voted to stop the implementation of the much-criticized law for 120 days with oral arguments scheduled on January 15, 2013 at the SC. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)