Anti-Cybercrime Act takes effect Oct. 3

by Jojo Malig,

Posted at Sep 28 2012 08:38 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2012 08:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 will take effect October 3, according to Malacañang. 

President Benigno Aquino signed Republic Act 10175 on September 12.

The Malacañang Records Office shows that RA 10175 was published in 2 newspapers of general circulation on September 18, 2012, according to @govph, the Twitter account of the government's Official Gazette.

"Per jurisprudence effectivity of laws still correlate w newspapers & Gazette print. [Online] posting is for info dissemination," @govph said.

Five petitions against portions of the controversial law have been filed before the Supreme Court.

Other groups of netizens have also announced plans to file separate petitions at the high tribunal.

The latest petition was jointly filed by Friday by journalists, bloggers, and lawyers who want the high court to declare RA 10175 unconstitutional.

They are questioning several provisions of the law that allow the justice secretary to block websites at will, and another that criminalizes libel on the Internet and punishes it with a longer prison term compared to print.

Section 7 of the RA 10175 also allows a person to be sued twice for the same offense, which violates the Constitutional right against double jeopardy, petitioners said.

Internet law expert JJ Disini, who was part of the group that filed the 4th petition Thursday, said at a forum organized by Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona that under the new law, people can even be be sued for old Internet posts.

"If it’s still online today, but published before, it is still covered, punishable. If you didn't delete it, it's still covered," he warned.

He said people can also be sued if they republish libelous content online via retweets on Twitter or sharing on Facebook.

His group's petition wants the Supreme Court to strike out the law's Sections 4 (c) [4], 6, 7, 12, and 19, which are believed to violate the Constitution.

The government said RA 10175's implementing rules and regulations will be out within 90 days of the law's enactment from September 12.

Even without the IRR, the law will be enforced starting October 3.

The law's contentious provisions has drawn flak online.

Several groups and individuals have launched petitions, Facebook pages, online discussions, and Twitter protests aimed against RA 10175.

Even Filipino hackers have joined the fray.

Members of "Anonymous Philippines" defaced 8 websites, including one belonging to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, to protest the anti-cybercrime law. - with a report from ANC