UPDATED: Supreme Court declares key Cybercrime Law provisions except libel unconstitutional
UPDATE: Supreme Court upholds February ruling on online libel
CMFR/Philippines – The Supreme Court En Banc on 22 April 2014 denied all motions for reconsideration (MRs) against the Court’s 18 February 2014 ruling on the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10175).
CMFR was a co-petitioner in a motion for partial reconsideration against the 18 February decision, which was filed on 12 March 2014. The motion questioned the decision of the Court to declare constitutional RA10175’s provision on online libel “with respect to the original author.”
Supreme Court declares key Cybercrime Law provisions except libel unconstitutional
The Supreme Court released its ruling on the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10175) on 18 February 2014, declaring several provisions unconstitutional, but ruling that the provision on libel would be constitutional only “with respect to the original author.”
Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te announced on Tuesday afternoon that while the provision on libel [Section 4(c)(4)] is constitutional “with respect to the original author,” it is unconstitutional “only where it penalizes those who receive the post or react to it.”
Te also said the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the law’s provisions on unsolicited commercial communications [Section 4(c)(3)], real-time collection of traffic data (Section 12), and blocking access to computer data found in violation of the Cybercrime Law (Section 19).
The section on aiding and abetting, and attempting to commit cybercrimes (Section 5) and the section on liability under other laws (Section 7) were also declared unconstitutional with respect to certain crimes defined in Section 4 of the law, notably with respect to libel (Section 4(c)(4)) and child pornography [Section 4(c)(2)] because other laws already penalize these crimes.
President Benigno Aquino III signed The Cybercrime Prevention Act into law on 12 September 2012 and took effect on 3 October 2012.
On 9 October 2012, the Supreme Court released a 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the Cybercrime Law, pending the petitions of media organizations questioning the constitutionality of the law. CMFR is among the petitioners.
On 5 February 2013, the Supreme Court extended the TRO indefinitely.