SC extends TRO on cybercrime law

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MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 February) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to extend indefinitely the temporary restraining order against Republic Act 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The decision came a day before the original 120-day TRO on the controversial law was to lapse.

Fifteen petitions were filed at the SC questioning the constitutionality of the cybercrime law.

Among the questioned provisions are those pertaining to libel [Section 4(c)(4)] as defined under Section 355 of the Revised Penal Code, and Section 12 which authorizes law enforcement authorities, by technical means, after finding due cause, to collect or record traffic data in real-time, associated with specified communication transmitted by means of a computer system.

Petitioners argued that the provision on libel is an abridgement of the freedom of speech, press and expression as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

They said Section 12 violates, among others, the due process clause and the rule on searches and seizures, and allows warrantless electronic surveillance.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, one of the petitioners, said the decision is “definitely a victory for all those who oppose a statute that would serve the effectively stifle free expression, the free flow of information, the right to privacy and a host of other rights and freedoms.”

“We thank and congratulate the lawyers of the people who very ably laid down the reasons why this unjust law must be junked. We thank and congratulate everyone who stood firm in the defense of our freedoms,” the NUJP said in a statement today.

“However, we must not allow this development to lull us into complacency,” it added. (MindaNews)

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