Congress urged to decriminalize libel

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2012 09:06 PM | Updated as of Oct 04 2012 05:06 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares on Wednesday urged Congress to urgently pass the long-filed House Bill 1009 decriminalizing libel that was filed in 2010 by the party-list group.

"It is not true that without libel or the cybercrime law there is no remedy to those subjected to defamatory statements. The Civil Code provides that anyone causing damage to another's reputation is civilly liable for damages," Colmenares said.

"No one should go to prison for the exercise of constitutional right to free press and expression. Repealing libel in the RPC [Revised Penal Code] will take out the base law under the cybercrime law," he said.

Colmenares said the anti-cybercrime law has placed the Philippines alongside countries under authoritarian rule.

"By approving the cybercrime law, President Aquino has put us in the level of China which blocks critical websites and imprison protesters in the internet," he said.

"There is no libel in the cybercrime laws of  Europe and many countries. Why should we follow China?" he asked.