Youth groups swarm to SC, call for speedy resolution of Cybercrime Law petitions

YOUTH and students from various youth formations joined the multisectoral gathering outside the Supreme Court today to demand the SC to repeal Republic Act 10175, especially provisions that can possibly infringe the civil liberties of Filipino netizens.

“We’ve been here in Padre Faura all night to ensure that we would be here first thing in the morning to witness the day that will hopefully herald the end of this repressive law,” said Kabataan Partylist President Terry Ridon.

Various youth formations, including the National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, League of Filipino Students, Anakbayan, and various chapters of Kabataan Partylist have all been standing guard in front of the SC since last night.

“We have been fighting the Cybercrime Law since the beginning, and we are determined to vanquish it no matter what,” Ridon said.

Alongside the multisectoral gathering in Manila, youth groups and regional chapters of Kabataan Partylist have also organized various protest actions in different parts of the country, including Negros, Cebu, Pangasinan and Bicol, among others.

An election maneuver

“Through a nationwide protest, the youth will show the Aquino regime our vehement opposition to his E-Martial Law,” Ridon explained.

“This law does not target real cybercrimes like hacking and identity theft; RA 10175 is targeting our rights,” Ridon added, saying that if the law takes effect by February, it would greatly benefit “the ruling clique – Aquino’s kamag-anak, kaklase, kabarilan” in the upcoming national elections.

“With a law designed to silence the genuine opposition, Aquino’s clique can easily peddle lies during the elections,” Ridon said.

Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo also noted that the Cybercrime Law can even be deadlier as the campaign period draws closer. “The Cybercrime Law gives both the DOJ and the administration too much power. At a time when political criticism and engagement is needed, the government can effectively eliminate a large part of our democratic space. Elections are supposed to be a time for democratic participation; this E-Martial Law does the opposite.”

Online, offline protest

Kabataan Partylist was joined by bloggers, Fliptop artists, civil society groups and people’s organizations. To mimic the cyberspace, the youth groups constructed a photobooth which consists of a black Facebook page symbolizing with the words “Junk the Cybercrime Law.” Bystanders and rallyists were all enjoined to take a picture in the said photobooth to boost awareness “both online and offline.”

The youth protesters also brought placards that resemble Facebook status updates and Tweets bearing the hashtag #notocybercrimelaw.

“The protest action today is not the end, but rather the beginning of a protracted battle against Aquino’s E-Martial Law. On January 22, the Office of the Solicitor General will be defending the government’s position on the matter, and we will be back here to express our utmost disgust,” Ridon said.

“On February 6, the TRO will be lifted, and if the SC does not expedite the repeal of RA 10175, the people will still not back down. If the government throws our rights away, then it is but just to overthrow the government,” Ridon said.

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