Aquino: Cybercrime law defends against 'snakes'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2012 11:35 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2012 07:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - If you were President Benigno Aquino, how do you defend the controversial anti-cybercrime law in front of kids?

On Tuesday, Aquino compared internet to the proverbial Eden and a likened a "cybercriminal" to a "snake" in the garden.

"The Bible tells us even in the Garden of Eden there was a snake. So the internet is really such a fantastic tool in the sense that when you look for information -- and assuming you know where to look for," he said.

"Kasi there are a lot of people who put things on the net that actually are nonsense," the President said. "If you know how to look for the right stuff, instead of going through a library and really scouring all of the volumes that you would need (to find) the answer, it's just a few clicks of the mouse away."

"Unfortunately, like the Garden of Eden, there are snakes also in it," Aquino said.

He said the cybercrime law attempts to protect the identity of people online and "seeks to remove sites that are harmful to people."

"It seeks to take away people who are predators on the net -- people who will want to do you harm, people who will want to perpetrate hoaxes," the President added.

"There are those who commit crimes using the internet and this bill seeks to codify or to put into law precisely that these activities are illegal and parang they set the basis for prosecuting those who would use the internet for wrong purposes. That's what the Cybercrime Law seeks to do," he explained.

The Supreme Court has imposed a 120-day temporary restraining order against the law in response to 15 petitions filed before the high tribunal.

The law, which was crafted by Senator Edgardo Angara, and passed without thorough review -- as admitted by several lawmakers, could see people jailed for 12 years and fined P1 million for posting defamatory comments on Facebook or Twitter.

The anti-cybercrime law also allows authorities to collect data from personal user accounts on social media and listen in on voice/video applications without a warrant.

It will also allow the Department of Justice to block a website even without a court review.