MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang stood by the anti-cyber crime law amid legal questions against it pending with the Supreme Court.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the law has gone through the scrutiny in the legislative process.
Valte is personally surprised at the opposition that the law is receiving now.
"Did we see that coming? Personally, no, in the sense that when it was being discussed in the lower House in the Senate and on the level of bicam… there [were] no questions, nobody was raising an objection," she said.
"I would imagine given the normal legislative experience that we have had, hindi naman po ‘yan tatlong buwan lang pinag-usapan, or apat na buwan lang pinag-usapan," she added.
A partymate of the President, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, is also questioning the constitutionality of a number of provisions of the law before the Supreme Court.
"From what I understand, Senator Guingona was the lone objection, was the lone person to object to when that particular bill was voted upon in the Senate. So I am not familiar with how the deliberations went, kung sino pa ’yung nag-register ng objections, on how it was crafted," Valte said.
The Palace also stood by the inclusion of the provision against libel on cyberspace.
"Freedom is never absolute, even in the Constitution you see that. There are responsibilities that do accompany our freedoms, the freedoms that we do posses. And from the emergence of technology as another platform kasi dati TV, radyo, diyaryo lang tayo e. So, ngayon you have a new platform for people to engage in and that’s only fitting also that there should be regulation to some extent," she said.
"Kasi siguro ‘yung i-parallel natin diyan ‘yung mga reporters nga, ‘yung mga journalists, they’re liable if they’re not responsible, and you have platforms kasi. Iba-iba tayo nang pinanghahawakang platform, and because of the emergence of that, then there should also be responsibility that is attached to people who make use of that particular platform," she added.
Nonetheless, the Palace welcomed the legal challenge before the SC, saying that these have been filed in the "proper forum."
"It’s good that these complaints are being taken to the proper forum because the Supreme Court is the proper forum for any challenges to any alleged unconstitutionalities to any particular ordinance, executive order, or, for that matter, a republic act," Valte said.
Appeal to hackers
Valte appealed to hackers not to vent their ire at government websites.
"There are legitimate avenues for expressing dissent. We have always maintained that we listen to dissent provided that it is done in the proper forum. Huwag naman po sanang ilabas doon sa mga websites… Meron naman po tayong tamang paraan para iparating kung ano po ‘yung hindi niyo nagugustuhan hindi lang ho ukol doon sa batas ngunit in everything that government does. There are legitimate avenues for redress," she said.
Some government websites, including the Official Gazette, has taken extra precautionary measures to protect themselves from hacking.
“IT administrators in government have now kept closer touch with each other in order to prevent situations like this,” she said.