IBON Foundation, as an organization that promotes information, education and alternative analysis on various socioeconomic issues, is deeply concerned about the failure of the Supreme Court (SC) to immediately act on petitions questioning Republic Act (RA) 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Given the urgency of the issue, the SC should have acted with due swiftness on the seven petitions filed so far before the High Court against the Cybercrime Law, which becomes effective starting today. But because it deferred action, it further fuels the controversy that has already triggered protests from netizens, including from hackers who have taken down several government websites since last week.
Judicial wisdom dictates that the SC intervene and at least temporarily stop the implementation of the Cybercrime Law given the very wide public opposition to it until the contentious issues on its legality and constitutionality have been fully resolved. It is unfortunate that the SC chooses not to exercise its discretion and this is detrimental to the public interest.
Like many groups in this digital age, IBON maximizes information and communication technology, especially the internet, in promoting its advocacies. As such, we share the legitimate concerns expressed by media groups, people’s organizations, advocacy groups and individual netizens on the serious implications of the Cybercrime Law on our civil rights, in particular to freedom of speech and of the press, privacy and due process.
IBON, by the nature of our work which is to provide alternative research and analysis that are often opposed to official government line as well as of powerful and influential groups like big business, has become more vulnerable to harassment or intimidation because of the Cybercrime Law. While we have been responsibly carrying out our work through the use of objective data, we will always be wary knowing that people or interests that we may offend are now armed with a new and more potent tool for repression.
We were founded during the dark years of Martial Law, out of the need for an alternative source of data and information on the real national situation because the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos had taken over the mass media. Today, 40 years since Martial Law was imposed and 26 years since the dictator was ousted by a popular uprising, we are still being confronted with Marcosian measures that harm our fundamental human rights. (end)