Bloggers, netizens file 10th plea vs cybercrime law

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2012 04:42 PM | Updated as of Oct 05 2012 07:03 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Bloggers and netizens filed a 10th petition against Republic Act (RA) No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, signed into law by President Aquino last Sept. 12.

In a 74-page petition for certiorari and prohibition, petitioners Anthony Ian Cruz, Marcelo Landicho, Benjamin Noel Espina, Marck Ronald Rimorin, Julius Rocas, Oliver Richard Robillo, Aaron Erick Lozada, Gerard Adrian Magnaye, Jose Reginald Ramos, Ma. Rosario Juan,

Brendalyn Ramirez, Maureen Hermitanio, Kristine Joy Rementilla, Maricel Gray, Julius Ivan Cabigon, Benralph Yu, Cebu Bloggers Society, Inc., president Ruben Licera, Jr., and Pinay Expat /OFW Blog Awards Inc. coordinator Pedro Rahon urged the high court to strike down as unconstitutional the following provisions:

-- Sec. 4(c)(4), which criminalizes libel on cyberspace;
-- Sec. 5 lists "aiding or abetting in the commission of cybercrime" and "attempt in the commission of cybercrime" as additional offenses;

-- Sec. 6, which raises by one degree higher the penalties provided for by the Revised Penal Code for all crimes committed through and with the use of information and communications;

-- Sec. 7, which provides that apart from prosecution under the law, any person charged for the alleged offense covered will not be spared from violations of the Revised Penal Code and other special laws; and,

-- Sec. 12, which authorizes law enforcement authorities to collect or record, by technical or electronic means, traffic data in real-time;

-- -- Sec. 19, which authorizes the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) to block access to computer data when such data "is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act."

Petitioners argued that these provisions transgress the right to due process of law and equal protection of the laws, right to privacy of communication and correspondence, right to free speech and expression, and the right against double jeopardy enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

"[T]he Honorable Court is herein called upon to endeavor to vindicate rights safeguarded by the fundamental law, particularly in this instance when both the Legislative and Executive branches of government intend to employ against citizens a crude tool to bludgeon their most cherished and jealously guarded fundamental civil rights...

"Now more than ever, therefore, with all due respect, the power of judicial review must not be abrogated or abandoned by the Honorable Court. Otherwise, the other branches of government will be able to operate as they very well please even beyond their fences, to the detriment of citizens," the petition read.

Petitioners asked for the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction to prevent respondents Pres. Aquino, both chambers of Congress, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Information and Communications Technology Offfice, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) from further implementing the controversial law, including the release of funds for its implementation.

They also called for the holding of oral arguments on the case.

The other petitions against the controversial law are: Louis Biraogo, ALAM party list, Disini, et al., Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, Rep. Palatino, et al., Adonis, et al., Bayan, et al. NUJP, et al., and Sta. Maria, et al.