Palace: Cybercrime law flawed but has merits

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 06 2013 04:02 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2013 12:02 AM

MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday continued to insist on the merits of Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, even while describing the law as imperfect.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that while the government finds the law’s “take-down clause” defective, there are cybercrimes that the government seeks to combat.

Asked why President Aquino signed the bill knowing that the measure was flawed, Valte said that the President could not do a line-item veto on a non-revenue bill.

“If you look at the entirety of the bill, marami hong magandang intensyon ang batas. I think nobody will argue that identity fraud should be a crime, nobody will argue that our women and children need to be protected if they are exploited for pornography on the Internet. And remember, hindi naman po ito tariff or revenue bill so it cannot be vetoed. Wala pong line-item veto dito,” she said.

President Benigno Aquino III signed the law in September last year, amid huge online protests, to stamp out cybercrimes such as fraud, identity theft, spamming and child pornography.

But opponents swiftly sued over provisions that authorize heavy prison terms for online libel and give the state powers to shut down websites and monitor online activities.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court extended the 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) it earlier issued against the law.

The extension was a plea of the 15 petitioners against the controversial law which provides, among others, the criminalization of libel on the internet. With Agence France-Presse