Cybercrime Law in the Philippines Yes or No?

"Once an information or charge sheet is filed against an author of a libelous post, he or she needs to pay bail of at least P50,000 to P100,000....Since the penalty for online libel is higher – the maximum is 12 years – the bail bond will also be higher.” - Lawyer Harry Roque

Year 2012 when the Cybercrime law is tackled in Philippines , and there are petitioners who are against this law because it is partly unconstitutional. Long time until the the Supreme Court has ruled that the online libel provision in the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is constitutional, although it struck down others.  Somewhat SC responded to the petitioners and clarified that only original authors of libelous material are covered by the cybercrime law, and not those who merely received or reacted to it, so our reactions will not be charge against us, including retweets, share, likes and comments.

What you should know about libel.

libel is a malicious, false statement in written media, a broadcast, or otherwise published words.
libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.

There are 4 Elements to be considered as Libel

(a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another -  in any way  lowers the esteem, honor or respect that a person is regarded

(b) publication of the imputation -There is publication if the material is communicated to a third person , not only the person whom it is addressed.

(c) identity of the person defamed - stranger  can identify him as the object of the defamatory statement

(d) existence of malice - it is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown.

Philippines in Cybercrime Law has extended its scope to include cyber defamation, unsolicited commercial communications, and cyber threats. It included laws prohibiting online identity theft, hacking, intrusion into computer systems, child pornography, intellectual property, online gambling, hacking,  and online libel.

Among the punishable acts as enumerated are:

  • Illegal access to a computer system

  • Illegal interception of data

  • Data interference, including intentional alteration or damaging of data

  • System interference, including damaging or altering computer data or programs as well as the use of viruses

  • Misuse of devices

  • Use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution or making available without right of malware, passwords or codes

  • Cybersquatting

  • Computer-related forgery

  • Computer-related fraud

  • Computer-related identity theft

  • Cybers3x

  • Child pornography

  • Unsolicited commercial communication

Much to the dismay of its citizens and meaningful individuals expressing outrageous reactions to it. This will mainly affect Filipinos as we are tend to express grievances publicly.  Reporters, columnists, bloggers should also be cautioned about this new amended Cybercrime law, where Under Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code, even truth may not be a defense against libel.

"Whether or not tama or mali (ang sinabi), basta mapanira, pwedeng makasuhan ng libel,"- Department of Justice Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy said.

Here are some guidelines that you may use to be more responsible as a blogger.

Be Honest and Fair - Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Minimize Harm - Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.

Be Accountable - Bloggers should:

• Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.

• Explain each Weblog's mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers' conduct.

I am not totally against cybercrime law, but in fact somewhat feel assured that when someone bullied us we can have the justice that we need. It may also be the start for the Filipinos to be more careful, respectful  and responsible on what they are doing online. If you are not a criminal why would you be afraid of this, and also once you are sued of libel just prove them wrong and its all done. We all have different opinions from this law but we should also look at the positive side of it. Although is has some flaw as of now we should turn our grievances and anger to constructive criticisms.
“Ask not what the government can do for you, rather ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy