Fil-Ams mount silent protest vs cybercrime law

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Oct 10 2012 03:07 PM | Updated as of Oct 10 2012 11:07 PM

NEW YORK - With their mouths covered with black tape, Filipino activists staged a silent protest at the Philippine Consulate in New York against the Anti-Cybercrime Law.

Dubbed as e-martial law by critics, the protesters said the law’s libel provision curtails the freedom of expression online.

“Right now we see it as a success, it's one step in the right direction, it does give us time to re-strategize about how this campaign should go and give us some more time to explore the possibilities of how this law can go into effect,” said Jackie Mariano of BAYAN USA.

The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a 120-day temporary restraining order on the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The injunction order stops law enforcement agencies, like the Department of Justice, the National Bureau of Investigation and even the Department of Science and Technology from implementing the entire law.

Next year, the Supreme Court will deliberate on the issues; consolidating all 15 petitions that has been filed to revoke the law.

“We believe in junking the entire law and if need be, then come up with a better one, because we believe that this law is really curtailing a lot of the rights of the people’s right to freedom of expression,” said Gary Labao of the New York Commission for Human Rights in the Philippines.

Respondents from government offices are expected to file comments within 10 days upon receipt of the notice.

"Bayan-USA really calls on all freedom-loving people and people who defend and uphold freedom of expression and freedom of speech to turn their eyes on the Philippines and show as an example what people power can do. What defending our basic rights really looks like,” added Mariano.