Today, the Supreme Court is set to hold an en banc session to hear the formal petitions against Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The bill passed both houses of parliament on June 4 and 5, and was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III on September 12. The law is set to be implemented starting tomorrow, October 3, unless the Supreme Court rules against it.
The law includes provisions criminalizing online libel and giving law enforcement agencies the power to take down websites which violate other provisions of the said act. It also places a heavier punishment for “cyber-libel” (6-12 years imprisonment) than for written libel (up to 4 years imprisonment), even if the only difference between the two is the medium used to propagate allegedly libelous statements. (You may read the law in its entirety here.)
While we in ZEN Otaku Honbu believe that all netizens worldwide should be responsible in their use of various Internet resources, we adamantly condemn any efforts by the government to regulate such use. As it is clearly stated in Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines,
No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. (Source)
Although the Philippines would only have access to the Internet seven years after the passage of this Constitution, it is clear that the freedom of speech protected by this provision applies to all forms of media. It is quite sobering that the son of the very person who helped bring back our country’s democracy from the clutches of Martial Law would sign into law a bill that could chip away at that same democracy.
We would like to urge this administration and our lawmakers to reconsider their support for the Anti-Cybercrime Law, and the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution in releasing a decision to the increasing number of cases filed against the said law. We, among the over 9 million Filipino Internet users, deserve no less.
In the meantime, we can assure our loyal readers that it will be business as usual for our website and our social media accounts. We will continue to exercise the freedom of the press that is enshrined in our Constitution, and we will not let the threat of being sued for “cyber-libel” dissuade us from bringing you otaku-relevant news, opinion, and analysis.
Last January 1st, ZEN Otaku Honbu has been rebranded as Anime Pilipinas.
New Name, but still has the same goal in going deeper into the Japanese Anime
& Pop-culture in the country and elsewhere in the world, from a Filipino standpoint.
For the Latest News and Other Opinion Posts, Please visit our new website at AnimePilipinas.com,
and also follow our social networking accounts.
ZENhonbuPH.net will remain as an archive site.