MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - Amid the protests in and outside the virtual world, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Anti-Cybercrime Act will be implemented as scheduled tomorrow, October 3, despite the lack of implementing rules.
In a text message sent to reporters, de Lima – who will gain enough powers in the law – said: “Effectivity of that law is not conditioned upon the adoption of the [implementing rules and regulations] and the setting up of the Office of Cybercrime."
"No legal impediment for the law’s implementation, given the absence of a TRO or injunction."
Earlier today, justices of the Supreme Court asked for more time to study the petitions filed against provisions in the Anti-Cybercrime Act.
The petitions, totaling seven so far, will be tackled again next week. No resolution, including a possible halt order, was issued by the High Court.
Republic Act 10175 broadened the meaning of libel to cover those found online, such as social media sites. It imposes a higher penalty, which the petitioners 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 de Lima the authority to restrict or block access to computer data.
4 justices absent
The SC Public Information Officer confirmed the news of the non-issuance of a TRO at around 2:00 p.m.
In a statement, acting PIO chief Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra said the full court meeting today was attended by ten justices.
Those not present were Justices Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, and Mariano C. Del Castillo. They are all on official business abroad for the Justice Sector Peer-Assisted Network Community of Practice Meetings for Information Systems Professionals in the Justice Sector and for Public Prosecutors held on September 27-28, 2012 and October 1-2, 2012, respectively in the Republic of Croatia.
Justice Roberto Abad, meanwhile, is on personal leave.