High Court contenders grilled on cybercrime law-A A +A
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno presided over Tuesday the public interview conducted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on aspirants for the lone vacancy at the Supreme Court (SC), by grilling them about their opinion on the controversial cybercrime law.
On the first day of the JBC interview, her first since she was appointed Chief Justice, Sereno asked at least two aspirants -- Court of Appeals Associate Justice Ramon Bato and former law dean Jose Santos-Bisquera -- what is the distinction between private space on personal posts in social networking sites and public space in publications, in view of the discussions on Republic Act (RA) 10175.
Bato, the same CA justice who rendered an order nullifying the arrest warrant issued against Senator Panfilo Lacson by the Manila Regional Trial Court in the Dacer-Corbito murders, said that what he knew about the law was only those that he read in newspapers or heard on TV or radio. He pointed out that the Internet now is open to other users.
"Newspaper reports and interviews in radio and TV would show that it is a very hotly debated issue now pending before the SC. I think the question is more focused on the libel (provision). But libel is already punished under the revised Penal Code, so it's not a protected expression," he said.
Sereno asked the same thing of Bisquera, who initially declined to answer because of the pendency of the case in the High Court.
However, when pressed, Bisquera said there seemed to be a public "overreaction" toward protecting the concept of privacy in the use of computer devices.
"Kung dalawa lang kayong nag-uusap sa Internet, walang libel (If there are only two people chatting on the Internet. There is no libel). The moment anyone of them would circulate your conversation or change the setting of your conversation from private to public mode, basta nakikita na ng iba ang pinag-uusapan nyo, may libel na (if anyone sees your conversation, there is libel). It's no longer privileged communication," he said.
The High Court last October 9 issued a temporary restraining order on the government's implementation of RA 10175 while the en banc is hearing the 15 petitions assailing the constitutionality of the law.
The High Court likewise set the case for oral argument on January 15.
Also present during the JBC interview aside from Sereno were former SC justice Regino Hermosisima, representing retired SC justices; former CA Justice Aurora Lagman, representing the private sector; and Jose Mejia, for the academe.
Aside from Bato and Bisquera, also grilled by the JBC were CA justice Rosmari Carandang and Sandiganbayan justice Maria Cristina Cornejo.
On Thursday, scheduled for public interview are former RTC Judge Adoracion P. Cruz-Avisado; CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes; CA Justices Magdangal De Leon, Jose Reyes, Noel Tijam and Isaias P. Dicdican; former University of the Philippines Law Dean Marvic Leonen; and former Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Perpetuo Lotilla.
The other three candidates -- De La Salle University Law Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Teresita J. Herbosa, and former Ateneo Law Dean Cesar L. Villanueva -- had already been interviewed in July 2012 when they were vying for the position of Chief Justice. (JCV/Sunnex)