Did SC decision on internet libel violate treaty?


Posted at Apr 23 2014 08:02 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2014 04:02 AM

MANILA - Following the Supreme Court decision declaring the cybercrime law and internet libel as constitutional, a legal group said the decision might have resulted in the Philippines breaching an international treaty on human rights.

The Center for International Law (CenterLaw), in a statement Wednesday, said there was a "blatant disregard" of the stand made by the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on criminal libel.

The UNHRC had said that criminal libel in the Philippines is incompatible with freedom of expression as it goes against Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR.)

CenterLaw chair Harry Roque said that because of this, there is a possibility that the Philippines may have violated international human rights laws, and in turn, breached a treaty obligation.

"It will only have itself to blame if its latest decision is condemned by the international human rights community as a violation of human rights law [and may] be subjected to the embarrassment of being in breach of a treaty obligation,” he said.

He also expressed disappointment over the dismissal of all pending motions for reconsideration on the Supreme Court decision on the cybercrime law.

CenterLaw said it plans to file a letter with the UN Human Rights Committee stating that the Supreme Court decision breached the Philippines' treaty obligation.

Roque also warned that internet libel will only threaten more journalists.