MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino on Wednesday said he is in favor of decriminalizing libel even as he supported the online libel provision of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Speaking at a forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Aquino admitted that he is "divided between the personal side and public side" of the debate on libel.
"I am subscribed to the idea of decriminalizing [libel] but not lessening the atmosphere to encourage irresponsibility of others," he said.
Asked if he is in favor of decriminalizing libel, he said: "Yes."
The President earlier defended his signing of Republic Act 10175 or the new anti-cybercrime law, which aims to combat Internet crimes such as hacking, identity theft, spamming, cybersex and online child pornography.
He told reporters he does not agree that the online libel provision of the law should be removed.
"Whatever the format is, if it is libelous, then there should be some form of redress available to the victims,” Aquino said.
The Supreme Court earlier issued a 120-day stay order against the law’s implementation after receiving 15 separate petitions questioning several of the law’s provisions.
The Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance has urged the President to make a public apology for signing the anti-Cybercrime Law.