Anti-cybercrime Law petitioners vow to conduct ‘mammoth rally’ during SC oral arguments

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IT is no longer enough to fight online. The battle will spill to the streets. We will show the Supreme Court, and the government the people’s wrath against the Aquino regime’s e-Martial Law that is RA 10175.”

This is Kabataan Partylist President and Legal Counsel Atty. Terry Ridon’s strong statement in the Anti-Cybercrime Law Broad Alliance Meeting conducted today at the UP College of Education.

The forum reunited several petitioners against the Cybercrime Law, including renowned UP Law Prof. Harry Roque, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

“We may have scored victories in the past year, with the Supreme Court issuing a TRO after 15 separate petitions were filed against RA 10175. But the fight for Internet freedom is far from over,” Ridon said.

In the SC oral arguments on January 15, the petitioners said that their individual defenses will revolve around the grounds for declaring RA 10175 unconstitutional, including provisions that grant the Department of Justice “superpowers” over cyberspace, online libel, and other vague provisions.

“However, the battle on January 15 will not only be in the august halls of the high court. Outside, we vow to mobilize tens of thousands of people — students, netizens, professionals — who are all vehemently opposing this draconian law,” Ridon said. “The fight will resume, both online and offline,” the youth leader added.

The Anti-Cybercrime Law Alliance revealed a series of build-up mobilizations and events in the days leading to January 15.

The alliance dubbed January 11 “Black Friday Against Cybercrime,” and local mobilizations will be held in schools and communities on this day. Also, black profile pictures and cover photos will again fill cyberspace.

On January 14, a vigil will be held in front of the Supreme Court, spearheded by campus journalists under the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.

The anti-Cybercrime Law mobilization will climax on January 15, wherein thousands of protesters are set to gather in Padre Faura to express opposition to RA 10175.

‘Nothing, nothing at all’

Meanwhile, lawmakers are lamenting Congress’ “utter lack of support” for proposed bills that are calling for the repeal of the contentious provisions in RA 10175.

“Despite both Congress and Senate’s alarm over the passage of an unconstitutional law, both chambers did nothing, nothing at all to expedite the passage of amendatory bills,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño.

Casiño and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino filed House Bill 6613, which aims to repeal several contentious provisions in RA 10175. The said bill is still at the committee level.

“We have very little time left to pass this repeal bill, but at the rate in which things are going, it seems like Congress leadership is lukewarm on this issue,” Palatino said. Sessions in both houses of Congress is set to resume on January 21, and will continue only until February 8 to give way to the campaign period.

“It is obvious that Congress leadership is not keen on passing the Cybercrime repeal bill. Yet we still have one potent tool left — great public pressure. Just as what happened in the RH Law, mounting public pressure will force the House leadership to act,” Palatino ended.

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