MANILA, Philipines – The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 still draws mixed reactions from the public since President Aquino signed the controversial measure into law last September 12.
On Monday, ABS-CBNnews.com conducted an online discussion with Atty. Jose Jesus "JJ" Disini and Atty. Rudyard Avila III about the law’s provisions.
Disini, a Harvard University graduate and the first lawyer-member of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society (PICS), said it took 11 years before the Anti-Cybercrime Law got the nod of Congress.
“Yung BiCam (Bicameral Conference Committee) report lumabas nung June or July 2012. Pinirmahan ni [President Aquino] September,” he said.
The lawyer noted that according to the Kabataan Partylist, “even members of Congress don't know when the BiCam meets.”
“So, hindi talaga public,” he said when asked how "questionable" provisions were inserted in the law.
Avila, a former dean of the Araullo University College of Law, said there have been calls to open up the Bicameral Conference Committee since “it’s been a venue of horse trading.”
“The Bicameral has been notorious for inserting provisions not contemplated by both houses,” he noted.
TV Patrol chatters also asked about the extent and effect of the cybercrime law.
“Sa cybercrime act, mas madali na ma-block ang mga free downloads at torrents. May power ang DOJ na magblock ng content,” said Disini.
“Ang pag-download ng video sa YouTube, bawal kung copyrighted ang material. Problema halos lahat yun may copyright,” he added.
As for Avila, he said: “Malaki ang impact nung batas. Halimbawa, kung lumabas ito nung impeachment ni CJ Corona, baka hindi naimpeach dahil matatakot ang netizens na mag post ng comment. May chilling effect, ika nga.”
Disini also shared his thoughts on the law’s effect on freedom of speech.
“Regulation of cyberspace is okay but the law should not suppress free speech,” he said.
Even though President Aquino justified the need for the anti-cybercrime law, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the new law.
The TRO stops law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Justice, the National Bureau of Investigation and even the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) from implementing the controversial law.