3rd petition vs Cybercrime Act filed with SC

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2012 02:05 PM | Updated as of Sep 27 2012 03:25 AM

MANILA - Another petition has been filed with the Supreme Court (SC) assailing the constitutionality of several provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 10175 also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The petition also urges the high court to restrain government from implementing said provisions for "violating the fundamental rights" enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

The said Act was signed into law by Pres. Aquino on Sept. 12.

In a 31-page petition for certiorari and prohibition filed on Tuesday, 5 taxpayers, namely: Jose Jesus M. Disini, Jr., Rowena S. Disini, Lianne Ivy P. Medina, Janette Toral, and Ernesto Sonido, Jr., urged the high court to immediately issue a temporary restraining order against the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Interior and Local Govt. (DILG), Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), Philippine National Police (PNP), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) from implementing Sec. 4 (c) [4], 6, 7, 12, and 19 of the law.

"[T]hese provisions are constitutionally infirm. Taken together, they restrict the fundamental rights to free speech and the freedom of the press with respect to online content in the same way a totalitarian state would do so -- through unrestricted and unregulated censorship," the petition read.

Sec. 4 (c) [4] of the law criminalizes libel, not only on the internet, but also on "any other similar means which may be devised in the future."

Sec. 6 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 provides that apart from prosecution under the assailed law, any person charged for the alleged offense covered will not be spared from violations of the Revised Penal Code and other special laws.

Sec. 12 authorizes law enforcement authorities to "collect or record by technical or electronic means" communications transmitted through a computer system.

Sec. 19 authorizes the 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 raised the following grounds in assailing the law:

A. The Cybercrime Act violates free speech

B. Sections 6 and 7 of the Cybercrime Act violate the double jeopardy and equal protections clauses of the Constitution

C. The real time data collection of traffic data violates the right to privacy and the right against unreasonable searches and seizure
D. The Respondent DOJ Secretary's take down authority under Sec. 19 of the Cybercrime Act violates due process and is an undue delegation of legislative authority

Petitioners stressed that the questioned provisions of the law "inter-operate with each other to create a 'chilling effect'" upon constitutional freedoms.

Aside from the Disini, et al. petition, businessman Louis "Barok" Biraogo and ALAM party list also filed separate petitions with the high court assailing the constitutionality of the same provisions in the law.

Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition on Republic Act 10175 - Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012