Youth group blames Palace for latest ‘cyber witchhunt’ in Leyte

THE youth group Anakbayan blamed the Aquino administration for what it termed a ‘cyber witchhunt’: a spate of persecutions against Filipinos for their Facebook activities, following the passage of the Cybercrime Law.

The latest involved seven residents of Maasin, Leyte who were ‘invited’ for ‘questioning’ last November 7 after allegedly criticizing the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the latter’s failure to solve a spate of robberies in the area.

Previous incidents of ‘cyber witchhunting’ following the signing of the Cybercrime Law last month are: the firing of 46 nurses in a public hospital in Taguig, suspension of four high school students in Manila, and the arrest of an anti-mining activist in Cagayan province on the orders of a pro-mining mayor.

“Noynoy Aquino’s passage of the Cybercrime Law has put an awesome weapon against freedom and civil liberties into the hands of abusive authorities. Even with a temporary restraining order (TRO), the likes of the PNP, employers, and school administrators have been inspired by the Aquino administration’s actions to crackdown on Internet freedom and liberties” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan and a signatory to one of the Supreme Court petitions against the said law.

“There is no legal basis for the actions against the ‘Maasin 7’. Kasing nipis ng buhok ni Noynoy (as thin as Noynoy’s hair). But the PNP has nonetheless been embolded because the Aquino administration is sending a message that it does not tolerate Internet freedom and free speech” said the youth leader.

Crisostomo urged youths, students, bloggers, and netizens to ‘prepare for bigger protests’, saying that unless the Cybercrime Law is junked, more similar cases of harassment would occur.

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