Marcos files bill to scrap stiffer penalty for cyber libel in cybercrime law

The halls of Senate is poised to become an arena for intense debate over the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175) as Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. moved to delete the most controversial provision of the “young” law.

Marcos filed on Monday morning, the first day of 16th Congress, Senate Bill No. 11 seeking to amend the law by deleting the provision imposing a penalty for cyber libel higher than the penalty imposed under the Revised Penal Code for libel committed through the traditional media like print (newspaper) and broadcast (radio and television).

In particular, the bill seeks to amend Section 6, 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 provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.”

“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,” he said.

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.

“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.

In October last year the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the implementation of the law for 120-days. Last February, the SC extended the TRO, which is still in effect today.

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