Nitong nakaraang Martes, January 15, sinimulan ang oral arguments para sa kontrobersiyal na Republic Act 10175 o mas kilala bilang Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, sa pangunguna ni Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
Inisa-isa at hinimay ang mga probisyong umani ng batikos mula sa iba’t ibang sektor.
Sa opening speech ni Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, binansagan niya itong "Cyber Dracula," na ayon sa kanya, “[it] instills fear in people’s hearts threatening to shut off our freedom of speech and expression.”
Binigyang-diin din nito ang posibleng epekto ng Cybercrime Law sa mamamayan, “[It] is a law that threatens and assaults our fundamental constitutional right to speak, right against unreasonable searches and seizures, our right against double jeopardy and our right to be accorded equal protection of laws.”
Dagdag pa niya, mas palalawigin daw nito ang kapangyarihan ng mga nakaupo sa gobyerno.
"We fear that this law would give the state unlimited powers to invade our lives intruding into sphere long protected by our constitutional rights.
“We are angry because we have always trusted that laws are for the good of persons and society."
INTERNET LIBEL. Isa sa pinakamasalimuot na bahagi ng Cybercrime Law ay ang usapin tungkol sa libel.
Isang propesor ng University of the Philippines College of Law, si Atty. Harry L. Roque Jr., ang nanguna sa pagtuligsa sa Section 4 (C) (4), kung saan nakasaad:
“(4) Libel— The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.”
Isinusulong ni Atty. Roque na tanggalin ang bahaging ito na “overbreadth” at “vague.”
Paliwanag niya, “Because of the technology that is the internet, [Sec.] 4 (C) (4) would penalize protected speech and number two, article 3.5.5, which penalizes libel has consistently been ruled by the American court as null and void because it covers constitutionally protected speech.”
Isa sa mga nabanggit na halimbawa ni Atty. Roque ay ang simpleng pag-like ng status sa Facebook at pag-retweet ng post sa Twitter.
“If assuming that is in fact [status] a libelous statement on Twitter, if someone retweets, the person who tweets it is equally liable for libel, likewise in Facebook.
“In Facebook, the main feature is the status. You can say whatever you want in the status. There’s a like button, there’s the comment, and you can share the same comment.
“The statute does not tell you who may be liable for libel if a person pushes the like button, the comment button or even the share button.”
Isa pang pangamba ni Atty. Roque, “... it might cover protected speech, meaning, it might cover criticisms without actual malice, falsities without actual malice made against public figures.”
Paano kung ang posts at tweets ay saklaw na ng cyber bullying?
Isang halimbawa na ibinigay ni Associate Justice Marvic Leone— na bagong miyembro ng Supreme Court at isang active social media user— ang sinapit ng U.P. law student na si Chris Lao.
Umani ng batikos sa Internet si Chris Lao noong 2011 dahil sa linya niyang "I should have been informed" matapos lusungin ng kotse nito ang isang binahang kalye sa Quezon City.
“Mr. Chris Lao was a private person from the start and because of what happened to him in cyber space, he became a public figure.”
Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, paano mapoprotektahan ang ang biktima?
Ang sabi ni Associate Justice Leonen, “Isn’t it the obligation of the state to protect private citizens against these defamatory remarks?”
Isa pang halimbawang binanggit niya ay ang mga personalidad, gaya ni Derek Ramsay, na may maraming Twitter followers.
Aniya, "They have the potential and ability to destroy others."
At kung walang pamantayan, "Is there not a right of the government, a State interest in coming in to remove the megaphones of some individuals who are careless?”
Sa puntong ito, ipinahayag naman ni Chief Justice Sereno ang posibleng maging epekto ng cyber bullying sa biktima:
“I am also concerned about those who commit suicide... Those who cannot wait for the deleting of the posts against them but who, in their state, have already taken to inflict harm upon themselves and this has happened not only to young people but also to even more mature people.”
UNJUSTIFIABLE PUNISHMENT. Samantala, binatikos ni Bayan Muna Representative Neri J. Colmenares ang Sections 6 at 7, kung saan nakasaad:
“SEC. 6 All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.
“SEC. 7. Liability under Other Laws. — A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws.”
Ayon kay Rep. Colmenares, "Our libel laws have remained for so many years na hindi naman tumataas ang penalty kahit nakakaimbento ng bagong mga teknolohiya.”
Tanong niya: May kaibahan ba ang Internet sa iba pang medium of communication gaya ng telebisyon at radyo para patawan ito ng mas mataas na parusa?
“There’s no substantial distinction, yet, we argue, that necessitates an increase in penality in this case…
“But truly, what is the substantial distinction between the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology), Internet, fax or telephone compared to other medium of technology.
“The means is not reasonable and is oppressive and that therefore, this section 6 must be struck down,” dagdag pa ni Rep. Colmenares
Ang batikos naman niya sa Section 7, “No person shall be put twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense...
"It says that after you charge a person in Section 6 in a qualified offense, then you can charge him again under Section 7 for the same offense...
"So because the law allows what the constitution prohibits, the law violates the constitution, and therefore must be struck down.”