We the Bloggers and Netizens for Democracy (BAND), composed of petitioners in G.R. 203469, are going back to the Supreme Court soon to file a “motion for partial reconsideration” regarding its decision on the draconian Cybercrime Law.
For while we are happy that the court partially agreed with us by voiding the provisions on warrantless real-time data spying, arbitrary taking-down of websites, and double jeopardy, our view is that the court has “unfinished business” to settle in order to protect citizens’ basic right to free expression, whether offline or online.
Moreover, the court should not miss its chance to do a perfectly constitutional and historic act: Raise the banner of free expression and Internet freedom all over the Philippines, especially as we approach two important events — the 20th anniversary of the Philippines’ first link to the Internet which happened on 29 March 1994, and the ASEAN integration starting in 2015. The court should keep the Philippine portion of the Internet free going to its 20th year and make it a shining example for our neighbors, some of whom don’t enjoy any meaningful measure of freedom.
To underscore this, we will join other petitioners in arguing that rotten and obsolete Philippine libel law be decriminalized and not be promoted or expanded in any way.
We will also explain how the law’s provisions, those left wholly orpartially untouched by the court, threaten and endanger the five basic principles of Internet freedom: expression, access, openness, innovation and privacy.
We will likewise expose the duplicity of authorities in claiming to be toothless and helpless in the face of reportedly growing number of cybersex and cybertrafficking incidents. They are the same authorities tasked with but conveniently forget about the enforcement of existing laws such as Republic Act No. 9995 (Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act), Republic Act No. 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act), Republic Act No. 9208 (Anti Trafficking in Persons Act), Republic Act No. 8792 (E-Commerce Act), Republic Act No. 8484 (Access Devices Regulation Act), and Republic Act No. 4200 (Anti-Wiretapping Law).
On the 20th anniversary of our nation’s first link to the web, the fight for Internet freedom continues.
Tonyo Cruz, petitioner
Kristoffer James Purisima, counsel
Complete list of BAND members and petitioners:
ANTHONY IAN M. CRUZ (tonyocruz.com); MARCELO R. LANDICHO (The Professional Heckler); BENJAMIN NOEL A. ESPINA (Atheista.net); MARCK RONALD C. RIMORIN (The Marocharim Experiment); JULIUS D. ROCAS; OLIVER RICHARD V. ROBILLO; AARON ERICK A. LOZADA (PinoyGossipBoy); GERARD ADRIAN P. MAGNAYE; JOSE REGINALD A. RAMOS (dronthego.net); MA. ROSARIO T. JUAN; BRENDALYN P. RAMIREZ; MAUREEN A. HERMITANIO; KRISTINE JOY S. REMENTILLA; MARICEL O. GRAY; JULIUS IVAN F. CABIGON; BENRALPH S. YU; CEBU BLOGGERS SOCIETY, INC. PRESIDENT RUBEN B. LICERA JR.; and PINOY EXPAT/OFW BLOG AWARDS, INC. COORDINATOR PEDRO E. RAHON