Amid protests on cybercrime law, Philippines congress passed the law to fight online pornography, hacking, identity theft and spamming in the conservative Catholic nation amid police complaints they lack the legal tools to stamp out Internet crime.
It seems like, everybody don't have privacy anymore because it allows authorities to collect data from personal user accounts on social media and listen in on voice/video applications, such as Skype, without a warrant.
Does it mean Filipinos have no freedom to express their feelings and voice out their opinions. Anyone who violated the law by posting libelous online will be sentence of up to 12 years.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government recognizes and respects efforts “not only to raise these issues in court but to propose amendments to the law in accordance with constitutional processes.” But he said the country needs this law.
“The policy is very clear," he said. "We have no legal framework on addressing cybercrimes, specifically in areas such as cybersex… cyber-fraud…”
This Act shall be known as the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012″.
Declaration of Policy. — The State recognizes the vital role of information and communications industries such as content production, telecommunications, broadcasting electronic commerce, and data processing, in the nation’s overall social and economic development. The State also recognizes the importance of providing an environment conducive to the development, acceleration, and rational application and exploitation of information and communications technology (ICT) to attain free, easy, and intelligible access to exchange and/or delivery of information; and the need to protect and safeguard the integrity of computer, computer and communications systems, networks, and databases, and the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and data stored therein, from all forms of misuse, abuse, and illegal access by making punishable under the law such conduct or conducts. In this light, the State shall adopt sufficient powers to effectively prevent and combat such offenses by facilitating their detection, investigation, and prosecution at both the domestic and international levels, and by providing arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation.
One of the provisions being criticized heavily is an insertion on what is now known as "cyberlibel."
In the list of cybercrime offenses (Chapter II, Section 4) of the Philippine cybercrime law, the inclusion of libel states: "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."
Under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, libel is defined (but not limited to) a public and malicious imputation of a crime. It has four elements: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b) publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of malice.
Senator Teifusto Guingona, only senator who voted against the law described the libel provision as "overly vague and oppressive."
"Without a clear definition of the crime of libel and the persons liable, virtually any person can now be charged with a crime -- even if you just re-tweet or comment on an online update or blog post," Guingona told the court.
"The questioned provisions... throw us back to the Dark Ages."
Critics have also filed petitions to the Supreme Court calling on it to rule that the law is unconstitutional.