GMA News - New bill seeks to scrap stiff penalties vs online libel

1 July 2013

By GMA News

GMA_onlineThe controversial Anti-Cybercrime Law is in for another round of scrutiny in Congress, after a lawmaker on Monday lodged a bill seeking to scrap its provision providing stiffer penalties against online libel.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday morning filed Senate Bill No. 11, seeking to delete the provision that imposes a higher penalty for cyber libel compared to libel via traditional media such as print and broadcast.

"Imposing a higher penalty on crimes defined under the Revised Penal Code and special laws committed through the Internet is not in accordance with the principle of justice and equality, and sound public policy," Marcos said.

Marcos particularly wants to delete a part of the law that "the penalty to be imposed shall be one degree higher than the provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be."

"If a crime is committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies, then the penalties provided under the present laws should be imposed accordingly and should not be increased solely on the ground that the crime was perpetrated through the use of cyberspace," he said.

President Benigno Aquino III signed the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 into law last September.

The law seeks to boost the government's power to combat cyber terrorism and online crimes.

But the high court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the implementation of the law for 120 days last October.

Last February, the SC extended the temporary restraining order, which remains in effect to date.