Groups owe ‘tactical victory’ to people’s protests vs RA 10175

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Oct) – Journalists and members of progressive organizations commended the Supreme Court (SC) for issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Cybercrime Prevention Act or Republic Act 10175, owing such “tactical victory” to the people’s strong protests.

Effective within 120 days and covering the entirety of the law, the TRO came after 15 petitions filed against RA 10175 at the SC and after massive protests from different sectors and netizens.

The SC reportedly set an oral argument on the law on January 15 next year.

“We owe it to the people who have stood up for their rights, for being defiant, not backing down to such machinations of authorities to wrest away from the people whatever is left of their hard-won freedoms,” said Jessie Casalda, chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Davao Chapter.

The NUJP Davao led a protest action Tuesday morning, which was participated in by media outfits and progressive organizations, calling to defy the repression of the “new media.”

“The essence of democracy is having citizens speak out their views on political and social issues. With that, the people have taken to new media, the Internet, as a venue to address basic problems and realities,” Casalda said.

“We commend the Philippines Supreme Court for issuing a temporary restraining order against the Cybercrime Prevention Act. The court should now go further by striking down this seriously flawed law,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, in a press statement issued Tuesday.

He said that if Congress still wants to have a law governing online activity, it should ensure that such a law will not infringe on civil liberties, human rights, the Constitution and the Philippines’ obligations under international laws.

“All provisions in Philippine law that allow for imprisonment for peaceful expression should be repealed. Congress should also ensure that any discussion on proposed laws be done in a transparent manner,” he added.

Putting the credit to the people’s movement both online and offline, Juland Suazo of Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao, said they want the thorough junking of apparently unconstitutional and repressive provisions of the law.

Sheena Duazo, Southern Mindanao spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, also attributed the issuance of TRO to the people’s strong protests.

But she said the people still have to be more vigilant because President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is firm on his stand not to amend libel, adding that the some allies of the President are saying that the people have to wait for the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law.

“But this is one way of deceiving or pacifying the people. We have to continue to assert our rights, vigorously exercise our freedoms and hold accountable those who were instrumental in giving life to this law, chief of whom is the President who signed it [into law],” she added. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)