February 5, 2013
Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) pressed the Supreme Court (SC) to extend the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued against the controversial Cybercrime Law in October last year. The said TRO will lapse on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Bayan made the appeal as it joined various youth organizations and other groups opposing Republic Act (RA) 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 in a picket in front of the SC offices in Manila today where the Justices are expected to rule on the plea of petitioners to extend the 120-day TRO in its full-court session.
“We ask the Justices to act judiciously and urgently on the different petitions seeking for an extension of the TRO. We believe that it is absolutely necessary that the High Court stop the patently unconstitutional Cybercrime Law from inflicting serious harm to our human rights, especially after we have heard the defense of the government during the last oral argument,” Bayan’s deputy secretary-general Eleanor de Guzman said.
During his defense of the Cybercrime Law before the SC, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza admitted many of the concerns raised against the contentious law. Among them is the unconstitutionality of the law’s Section 19 which allows the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take down websites or block or restrict access to computer data without a court warrant. Jardeleza also said that the collection of real time traffic data, as outlined in Section 12, failed to define “due cause”, making it open to abuse. The Solicitor General confirmed as well the fear of netizens that the simple “liking” or “sharing” on Facebook or “retweeting” on Twitter of a libelous article or post will also make them criminally liable under the Cybercrime Law.
“The public must continue to pressure the SC and make the Justices feel that we will not let our guard down not only until we secure the TRO extension but more importantly, until we had the Cybercrime Law totally scrapped. It’s the only way that we can protect and build on our initial victories against this regressive policy,” de Guzman stressed. ###