Legarda wants cyberlaw amended, libel decriminalized

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2012 01:26 AM | Updated as of Oct 09 2012 09:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Loren Legarda has filed bills to amend Republic Act No. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, and have libel decriminalized.

Legarda, in a press statement, said the libel and takedown provisions of RA 10175 must be removed.

"In seeking repeal of the two clauses through Senate Bill 3295, I hope to eliminate the chilling effect that may impose undue boundaries on our people's exercise of freedom of expression," she said.

"Consistent with the Constitutional mandate of promoting free expression, it is imperative for institutions such as the legislative branch of government to adopt a policy towards the proliferation of a free market of ideas," she said.

Legarda was among 13 senators who approved the upper House's version of the cybercrime law bill authored by Senator Edgardo Angara.

She said there is a need to balance the government's role to protect its citizenry and uphold freedom of expression.

Legarda said Senate Bill 3294 also aims to decriminalize libel by removing the penalty of fine and imprisonment in libel cases.

"While the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, experience has shown us that such is easily stifled with the mere threat of criminal libel," she said.

"Apart from threatening our citizenry's long-cherished Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom, the continued criminalization of libel will be a huge hindrance in efforts aimed at promoting good governance and exacting accountability on our public officials," she added.