Lady solon defends Cybercrime Prevention Act

A LADY lawmaker today said she respects the right of the petitioners who challenged before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act that was recently signed into law by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

Rep. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) said the netizens, bloggers as well as the people have the right to challenge Republic Act 10175 although the Information and Communications Technology Office under the Department of Science and Technology (ICTO-DOST), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) still have 90 days from approval of the bill to formulate the necessary rules and regulations (IRR) for the effective implementation of the law.

“It is part of our country’s democracy that those who may have a grievance under the law may go to Court to seek redress. I respect their opinions and stand that they have a need to do so,” said Yap, the proponent of House Bill 5808, now R.A. 10175.

She stressed, however, that lawmakers have to do what they have to do to bring about progress and development for the country.

“I shall stand by my belief that we, in both Houses of Congress, have done our roles earnestly and faithfully to bring about the passage of this law so drastically material and necessary for the progress and development of our country, both economically and politically,” Yap said.

According to Yap, R.A. 10175 or “An Act Defining Cybercrime, Providing for the Prevention, Investigation, Suppression and the Imposition of Penalties Therefor and for Other Purposes,” was formulated and crafted under the notion and with good faith that it shall embody the intent of the framers seeking to deter further proliferation of cybercrimes, protecting our citizens and encouraging the development of an economy based on Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Yap believed that the individual right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression albeit constitutional rights are not absolute and should always be tempered by the general welfare and co-existing rights of the many.

Every Filipino will benefit from the enactment of the law, i.e. individuals, corporations, and governments who transact businesses, personal and institutional, electronically or “online,” Yap said.

Yap cited a recent online news article of CIDG Chief, Police Director Samuel Pagdilao, Jr. stating, “The newly enacted law arms the police with a more resilient legal framework in going against foreign and domestic syndicates engaged in cybercrime.”

The law classifies cybercrime in three categories: Offenses against confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems which includes illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices, and cyber-squatting; Computer related offenses, acts that are computer-related forgery, computer-related fraud, and computer-related identity theft; and, content-related offenses which includes, cybersex, child pornography, unsolicited commercial communications, and libel.

Under the law, the penalty for the commission of offenses against confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems and those that are related is prision mayor or 6 yrs and 1 day to 12 years or a fine of P200,000.

“Cybersex offense is punishable by prision mayor or a fine of at least P200,000 up to P1,000,000 or both, while child pornography offense is meted with a penalty one degree higher than reclusion temporal (14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months) and a fine of not less than P1,000,000,” Yap said.

“All crimes defined and penalized by the RPC, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall also be covered by the relevant provisions of the new law, provided that the penalty shall be one degree higher than that provided for by the RPC, and special laws, as the case may be,” Yap added.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police shall be responsible for the efficient and effective law enforcement of the provisions of the law.

A Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), an inter-agency under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President, shall be created for policy coordination among concerned agencies and for the formulation and enforcement of the national cyber security plan.

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