MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima assured the public she will exercise with prudence the power granted to the Department of Justice by the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act.
“Any power or authority granted by the law to Department of Justice and secretary of Justice will be exercised judiciously and prudently, within the standards or parameters set forth in the law and with due regard to fundamental, human rights of individuals,” she said in a statement.
Groups have already questioned the constitutionality of Republic Act 10175, which broadened the meaning of libel to cover those found online, such as social media sites. It imposes a higher penalty, which the groups said counters one’s right to freedom of speech, expression and of the press.
The groups also questioned section 19 of the law, which gives the Justice Secretary the authority to restrict or block access to computer data.
De Lima, who has received flak in the past for issuing orders sans any deciding law, claimed: “As part of the executive branch, the role of DOJ and SOJ is simply to execute the laws of the land. We did not make that law, which should and ought to be deemed constitutional, unless otherwise declared by the Supreme Court.”
De Lima was named among the respondents in the petitions filed before the SC. The petitions are expected to be tackled by the full court on Tuesday.