Gov’t admits cyber law ‘barely constitutional’



MANILA, Philippines—The heart of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act which is Section 12 or the Collection of Traffic Data is “barely constitutional,” government lawyers admitted before the Supreme Court Tuesday.

Section 12 of the law provides that “law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.”

The same provision of the law provides that traffic data “refers only to the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration or type of underlying service but not content nor identities.”

High Court Justices asked what specifically is traffic data.

During the questioning of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio,  Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza said traffic data could include private data. However, he said it cannot be considered violation of the right to privacy since no court has declared it private.

Carpio asked Jardeleza if for example a police officer tries to get a traffic data about him, will he raise the defense of privacy?

“I cannot argue privacy because the data on phone is external data therefore, that is not covered by privacy…Taking as instructive the experience in the US, in that jurisdiction, traffic data can be exercised if the trigger is a Federal State attorney,” Jardeleza said.

“But here any police can do it,” Carpio said.

“That is why my answer is it is constitutional but barely,” Jardeleza said.

Jardeleza added that collection of traffic data is allowed as long as there is “due cause.”

Carpio, together with Sereno, Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Mariano Del Castillo, Jose Perez asked what is due cause.

Jardeleza said “unfortunately, that is one of our misgivings under the law.”

“The law does not define what due cause means. Who will initiate the determination of due cause,” De Castro asked.

“You are right your honor,” Jardeleza said.

Sereno noted that Jardeleza himself demonstrated unease with Section 12.

“Section 12 grapples with due cause. What kind of animal is this and who will identify this animal…This section is the heart of the law, without this, this law is good for nothing,” Sereno said.

Without the Cybercrime Law, Carpio said, hacking can still be prosecuted under Republic Act 8792 or the E-Commerce Law.

“Even if we void this law, it is not a problem, hacker can still be penalized,” Carpio said.

The high court gave both the government and the anti-cybercrime law advocates 20 days to submit their memoranda.

However, extension of the restraining order on the implementation of the law will still be discussed by the court. The restraining order will expire on Feb. 5.

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  • leomar101

    It’s not constitutional period. You wanted to trumpled upon the right of everyone  to express their own opinion.

  • magiting78

    Hahahaha Jardeleza..Jardeleza may gana ka pa mag apply as Asso Justice ng SC wala ka palng binatbat…hnd mo kayang idepensa cybercrime law…sa madaling salita buraotttttt ampao hahahaha…

  • malek_abdul

    Make the cyber crime law simpler and more distinct. Otherwise scrap it all along! These law maybe abused mostly by the rich, powerful and famous. Paano naman si simpleng Juan at Juana  dela Cruz?

    • Harry

      Decriminalize libel and make it a civil offense.

  • rightist

    Pinapatalo nila itong cybercrime law. Simpleng tanong lang di pa masagot.

  • speaksoftlylove

    It is not only palace which is exercising “trial and error governance.” Despicably, it is Congress itself. Para bang nagpapalusot lang. Kung malusot ok. kung hindi, di hindi. It’s definitely pathetic because it is not only a waste of time, effort, and money but more importantly, it is tantamount to hoodwinking the people and taking advantage of the majority’s ignorance of the law. It’s good if the unconstitutional law is controversially denounced by the people. Yet, when the law or event is welcomed by the people, the Supreme Court would be pressured to uphold it or at least, refuse to exercise their power of judicial review and just dismiss the matter as “purely a political issue or exercise” just like what happened to the illegal and unconstitutional impeachment of CJ Corona by the people who are far more corrupt than him.

    When will we learn to uphold the law and thus relieve the Supreme Court of any pressure and declog it’s horrendous court docket?

  • RyanE

    What kind of law could we expect from lawmakers such as the plagiarist Sen. Sotto et al?

    • andy bonifacio


    • Jerry_SeinfeId


  • Harry

    Unlike ordinary mail that is enclosed in a sealed envelop, electronic traffic data unless encrypted or scrambled is open and easily intercepted. Without a clear definition of “due cause” all forms of interception/recording of traffic data other than those recorded by the service providers must be considered illegal.

  • Jerry_SeinfeId

    Who in his right mind would vote to KILL the very essence of FREEDOM?


    when 99% of the filipinos are objecting to it and only 1% is lobbying for it, is it still constitutional. does the constitution works for the 1% and never mind the 99%. bakit hindi idaan sa referndum? sigurado sibak ito.

  • agustin

    Jardeleza is just pressured by his boss to depend the cybercrime law, when in his right mind he is lukewarm to this law. this law is too broad that it includes libel. libel provision here is designed to protect the present dictatorial gov’t from being attack by the bloggers but what will happen when they are no longer in power, they can not criticized the new dictatorial  gov’t. and it will be against their will. they will have to blame themselves for this law.

  • Virgilio B. Zamora

    Kulang sa timbang ang mga senador o mambabatas na gumawa nyan! Isa ka pa Pinoy! Pinirmahan mo pa!

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