Youth groups file broadest petition vs Cybercrime Law in SC

YOUTH groups led by Kabataan Partylist have filed the “broadest and most comprehensive” petition against the looming implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Law of 2012 at the Supreme Court.

The said petition seeks for the issuance of the writs of prohibition and mandamus against the Executive Secretary and the Secretary of the Department of Justice, and for the exercise of judicial review to assail the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Law.

“Among all petitions filed before the Supreme Court that assail the Cybercrime Law, we can say that this is the broadest, as the petitioners include youth leaders, online media practitioners, artists, and members of the academe,” said Atty. James Mark Terry Ridon, Kabataan Partylist president and general counsel.

Petitioners include Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, ACT Teachers Partylist Antonio Tinio, Anakbayan National Chair Vencer Crisostomo, National Union of Students of the Philippines Secretary General Isabelle Baguisi, Karatula Chair Michael Beltran, Philippine Collegian Editor-in-Chief Katherine Elona, and Dean Roland Tolentino of the UP College of Mass Communication.

Alternative media practitioners, including the Burgos Media Center and the Pinoy Media Center are also included in the list of petitioners.

The petition named Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima as primary respondents.

“We believe that the Supreme Court will act swiftly on this petition, as it fulfils all the requisites needed for the exercise of judicial review, including petitioners that have the standing to question the validity of the Cybercrime Law and the question of constitutionality,” Ridon said, explaining that the petitioners are all Internet users, who either participate, write, comment or post in blogs, websites and pages, social media networks or publish articles online in different websites and pages for public viewing, and are therefore can be subject to criminal litigation upon effectivity of the law.

The petition cited Sections 4(C)4, 5, and 6 of RA 10175, which relate to online libel, as unconstitutional due to vagueness. Also, the petition argued that particular sections of Chapter IV of RA 10175 are unconstitutional “for violating constitutional due process.”

“We call on the high court to act swiftly on this petition, as the implementation of RA 10175 will endanger the Internet freedom of Filipinos,” Ridon added.

‘Repeal Cybercrime Law’

Meanwhile, a bill which seeks to repeal several sections of RA 10175 is also set to be filed by Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino in the House of Representatives later this afternoon.

Dubbed as the “Internet Freedom Act of 2012,” the bill mainly seeks to repeal Sections 4(C)4, 6 and Chapter IV of the Cybercrime Law.

“Stakeholders demand that the House take a second look at what may have been a mistake by Congress and the President. It is in this light that the approval of this bill is earnestly and urgently sought,” Palatino said in the explanatory note of the bill.

On Wednesday, Palatino is also set to file the “Internet Bill of Rights,” a bill that will enumerate the rights of Filipino netizens.

“It is high time that legislation on the Internet turns from being prohibitive to becoming protective,” Palatino said.

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