Review of proposed amendments on cybercrime law pushedBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — Despite Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s opposition to the amendments proposed on the Cybercrime Prevention Act, lawmakers pushing to repeal its contentious provisions are determined to urge fellow members of the House of Representatives to study changes being suggested, particularly the provision on libel.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino and Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño, who filed House Bill 6613 earlier this week, vowed to continue pushing legislators to repeal the much debated provisions of Republic Act No. 10175 even though Belmonte has asked that the people “give the new law a chance.”
“The law is not perfect because it is the first of its kind in our country. If there’s a real danger of stifling free speech and so forth, then let’s look at it and put the appropriate safeguards,” Belmonte recently told reporters in an interview.
But Palatino countered that the new cybercrime law was not the first of its kind, saying “we have the e-commerce law, the anti-child pornography law, the anti-photo video voyeurism act. I will ask the leadership to give the amendment bill serious consideration. I will ask as many colleagues to co-author my bill. I’m asking our netizens to help convince the House leadership.”
Casiño added that Congress should not allow the law to continue being implemented and urged that amendments be studied “before citizens fall victim to its dangerous provisions. We should be proactive and just remove those provisions that threaten the rights and the freedom of our people.”
Belmonte, however, maintained that it was important to observe the new law in action first and to wait for its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) first. “The IRR is strictly an administrative process and the business of the Executive. It is very important as it can either extend or limit the law.”
He said that whether the provisions in question were unconstitutional was a matter still pending with the Supreme Court “and if the Supreme Court says so we will make it constitutional by removing the aspects which are unconstitutional.”
“What is important is that we are hearing the people’s concerns. They will take that into consideration in crafting the IRR. They are forewarned and they will take appropriate safeguards,” he said, assuring that despite Congress’ limited time due to the upcoming elections that “if they come to a conclusion that hey, we made a mistake, then we will very quickly act on it. But my own personal view is that let’s give the law a chance.”