SC’s TRO on Cybercrime law draws mixed reactions in Senate

October 9, 2012 10:02 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 9 – The decision of the Supreme Court to unanimously issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 drew mixed reactions from the senators.

Senator Teofisto ‘TG’ Guingona III said the TRO is the first victory in his bid to defend the freedom and right of expression through internet.

”For a court to issue a TRO unanimously is a strong message of its belief that the dangers and fears of the people are real and must be addressed. With this TRO, the tyrannical powers granted by the law are effectively clipped,” Guingona said.

However, Guingona, the only senator who voted against the law when it was passed in the Senate, said the fight is not over.

”Now, we must escalate our vigilance, keep the fire burning, and continue the fight for our fundamental rights. The fight of the people, on the streets and online, must continue,” Guingona said.

Senator Edgardo Angara, the principal author of the law in the Senate, said the TRO is not yet the final decision of the high tribunal, hoping the court would still see the merit of the law.

”There is nothing to worry about the TRO. This is part and parcel of the judiciary system. But, in fact, I welcomed this because this is in response to the clamor of our constituents or the netizens,” Angara said.

Angara believed that online libel has to stay but agreed to the proposal of some of his colleagues to repeal the mother law which is the Revised Penal Code where libel is punishable by imprisonment.

Senator Pia Cayetano said the issuance of TRO would open a window of opportunity for Congress to revisit the law and work for the amendment of the questionable provisions.

Cayetano joined Senators Francis Joseph ‘Chiz’ Escudero and Loren Legarda in filing amendatory measures on the controversial law, basically to decriminalize the online libel.

"Several bills have already been filed, including Senate Bill Nos. 3297 and 3298 which I authored. I look forward to the debates and urge the public, including netizens and bloggers, to monitor and participate in the public hearings,” Cayetano said.

Senate President Juan Ponce said the Senate will respect the SC ruling which he said would give the lawmaker time to study the anti-Cybercrime law.

”The TRO is only a temporary restraining order not to enforce it yet until the Supreme Court can really look at the issue involved. That means that they want to study it very well, so we have to respect the Supreme Court,” Enrile said.

However, Enrile said he would rather wait for the final decision of the SC “so that we will know what defects that they want us to correct.”

”We are not infallible people,” the veteran lawmaker added. (PNA)



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