October 1, 2012
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and its allied groups and personalities will file today a petition questioning the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act before the Supreme Court. Bayan and the petitioners are being represented by the National Union of People’s Lawyers. Petitioners include National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr., Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, KMU chair Elmer Labog, COURAGE chair Ferdinand Gaite, and Anakpawis secretary general Joel Maglungsod, Gabriela Women’s Party Secretary General Lana Linaban and human rights lawyer and netizen Julius Garcia Matibag.
Representing the petitioners are NUPL lawyers Julius G. Matibag, Isaganni Carlos Zarrate, who also writes a column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Greg Fabros, Minerva Lopez, and Cristina Yambot.
“We file this petition in the name of freedom of speech and in defense of our people’s right to privacy and due process. The Cybercrime Law threatens to trample on our constitutional rights and guaranteed freedoms. Freedom-loving Filipinos, especially the online community, must resolutely oppose this measure,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“Provisions on the monitoring and recording of traffic data without court warrant lays down the basis for Big Brother to monitor our online activities. Traffic data can mean anything that is not stored in a device or is in transit from device A to device B. What is to stop government from monitoring emails, online transactions, and other online activities? And on the mere basis of due cause? It is an assault on our right to privacy,” Reyes said.
Bayan and the petitioners are assailing at least 10 provision of the new law which takes effect October 3. These include Sections 4(a)(3), 4(b)(3), 4(c)(4), 5(a)(b), 6, 7, 12, 17, 19, and 20 either for being void-for vagueness or overbreadth that these infringe on the constitutional rights of the people such as freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and right to privacy.
A provision in the new law also makes illegal the alteration of computer data without right, which may include photos. ”Even internet memes that alter photos of politicians as a way of expressing opinions on issues, may be penalized under this law,” Reyes explained.
“We urge the Supreme Court to give due course to all petitions. The issue of the cyberlaw infringes on our constitutional rights. The court must strike down this draconian measure,” Reyes said.
The group decried that the law gives a heavier penalty for crimes committed via the internet. It said that usual cases of harassment such as libel, rebellion and sedition can now be carried online if the idea is to simply harass someone.
“Those who stand against free speech will now be empowered to silence government critics. The chilling effect will soon be in place,” Reyes added.
DOWNLOAD PETITION HERE.