By Bernadette Tamayo | People's Journal
SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has sought the removal of the most controversial provision of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175 which punishes individuals who will engage in so-called “cyber libel” with a penalty higher than that imposed by the Revised Penal Code.
He filed Monday Senate Bill No. 11 which seeks to delete the provision imposing a penalty for cyber libel higher than the one imposed under the RPC for libel committed through the traditional media like print (newspaper) and broadcast (radio and television).
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was signed into law on September 2012, aimed at bolstering the government’s power to combat cyber terrorism and online crimes. But the Supreme Court, a month later, issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the implementation of the law for 120-days. Last February, the High Tribunal extended the TRO, which is still in effect today.
SBN 11 amends Section 6 of RA 10175, which provides that: “All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this act.”
Marcos wanted to delete the next sentence of the same section, which says: “Provided, that the penalty to be imposed shall be one degree higher than the penalty provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.”
He deplored that the imposition of 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.”
“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,” Marcos said.