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Legarda Files Bills to Amend Cybercrime Prevention Act and Decriminalize Libel

October 8, 2012

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA FILED A BILL TO REPEAL THE LIBEL AND TAKEDOWN PROVISIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10175, OR THE CYBERCRIME PREVENTION ACT OF 2012.
“In seeking repeal of the two clauses through Senate Bill 3295, I hope to eliminate the chilling effect that may impose undue boundaries on our people’s exercise of freedom of expression,” Legarda said.
“Consistent with the Constitutional mandate of promoting free expression, it is imperative for institutions such as the legislative branch of government to adopt a policy towards the proliferation of a free market of ideas,” she added.
Legarda also noted the need to strike a balance between the government’s role to protect its citizenry and uphold its freedom of expression.
“The vulnerability of the cyberspace to pollutants, such as pornography, cybersex, fraudulent practices and promotion of human trafficking were precisely the reasons for the passage of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012,” she noted.
“However, adopting such policy to prevent pollutants from spoiling the minds of our people must not be done at the expense of our valued right to free speech,” Legarda noted.
Moreover, the Senator filed Senate Bill 3294 to decriminalize libel, removing the penalty of fine and imprisonment in libel cases.
“While the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, experience has shown us that such is easily stifled with the mere threat of criminal libel,” Legarda noted.
“Apart from threatening our citizenry’s long-cherished Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom, the continued criminalization of libel will be a huge hindrance in efforts aimed at promoting good governance and exacting accountability on our public officials,” she added.
Legarda filed similar bills in 2001 and 2007.