MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a measure that seeks to repeal the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act that was passed in the recent Congress.
Santiago has filed Senate Bill No. 53 or the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF), which protects the rights and freedoms of Filipinos in cyberspace, while defining and penalizing cybercrimes.
“R.A. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act) confines the Philippines to 20th century capabilities in this 21st century information society. Clearly, laws that have an impact on cyberspace must address the realities of the present and the challenges of the future,” the veteran senator said in a statement on Wednesday.
“While it is important to crackdown on criminal activities on the internet, protecting constitutional rights like free expression, privacy, and due process should hold a higher place in crafting laws,” Santiago added.
She said the MCPIF upholds the right to free speech of Filipinos in cyberspace, unlike the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which has been much-criticized for its provision on online libel.
“The MCPIF treats libel as a civil liability rather than a criminal act. It is not overbroad or vague in its provisions on libel, unlike the cybercrime law,”Santiago said.
Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act imposes a penalty for online libel higher than the penalty imposed under the Revised Penal Code for libel committed through the traditional media like print and broadcast.
The controversial cybercrime measure was signed in September 2012, with a goal to boosting the government’s power to combat cyber terrorism and crimes committed through the internet.
The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order in October 2012 stopping the law’s implementation for 120-days. The order was extended indefinitely last February.