DOJ to amend anti-cybercrime law IRR

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2014 03:14 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2014 03:38 AM

Will await final Supreme Court ruling on MRs

MANILA - The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Cybercrime will have to amend the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) it had crafted for the implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, now that the Supreme Court (SC) struck down some of its provisions as unconstitutional.

Office of Cybercrime head Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy told reporters that it may be prudent for the DOJ to await the high court's final ruling on the motions for reconsideration that some of the petitioners are planning to lodge.

He stressed that the IRR will entail a series of public consultations and consultations with stakeholders.

"The IRR in its very draft has been ready since the Cybercrime Prevention Act was passed in 2012, so di naman siya bigla-biglaan. And with the new SC decision, we have to change the IRR, hopefully, when all the motions for reconsiderations are done, we will be able to post it online for public consultation," Sy said.

The DOJ intends to focus on "other cybercrimes" and not on online libel which the high court ruled as constitutional in so far as the original author of the libelous post is concerned.

During the deliberations on the proposed cybercrime measure before Congress, the department was against the criminalization of online libel, taking the position that it was unnecessary to do so since libel is already penalized under the Revised Penal Code.

"Yung libel na nasa Cybercrime Prevention Act, hindi naman yan panibagong libel, its the same libel we have sa Revised Penal Code since 1932. Yun nga lang yung mode of commission iba na: instead of traditional newspaper article, ang bagong libel ngayon ay pwede na siya sa social media. Yung mode lang ang nagbago: it can be committed online," Sy said.

The DOJ would rather take a "balancing act" between freedom of expression and speech, and responsible online posting with the high court's ruling declaring online libel as constitutional in part.

"Our stand on libel is consistent, in the sense that we will value free speech, free expression, but, at the same time, protect the people's right to reputation," Sy said.