In the absence of a TRO from the Supreme Court, social netizens in the Philippines face Wednesdsay the gravity of Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Leila de Lima, the Department of Justice Secretary, on Tuesday told reporters that the lack of the new law's implementing rules and regulations does not affect its effective date of implementation.
"Effectivity of that law is not conditioned upon the adoption of the IRR and the setting up of the Office of Cybercrime. No legal impediment for the law's implementation, given the absence of a TRO or injunction," de Lima was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Supreme Court, under the leadership of newly appointed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal Sereno, is still studying the petitions of private groups calling for the invalidation of the cybercrime law for its unconstitutional provisions.
One of the provisions being criticized heavily is an insertion on what is now known as "cyberlibel."
In the list of cybercrime offenses (Chapter II, Section 4) of the Philippine cybercrime law, the inclusion of libel states: "The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future."
Under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, libel is defined (but not limited to) a public and malicious imputation of a crime. It has four elements: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b) publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of malice.
Senator Teofista Guingona III, who voted against the enactment of the cybercrime bill, described the libel provision as "overly vague and oppressive."
Ironically, one of the senators who voted in favor of the cybercrime bill had also filed a bill in July 2010, decriminalizing libel. Senator Francis Escudero has just filed a bill repealing the libel provision in Republic Act No. 10175, saying there had been an oversight in his endorsement of the cybercrime law.
Social netizens who are strongly against the cybercrime law have created a "Junk the Cybercrime Law" page on Facebook. Protesters say the internet users' right to privacy and freedom of speech, as well as Philippine democracy itself, are being violated by Republic Act No. 10175.
Click 'Start' to see some of the Philippine #cybercrimelaw memes making the rounds on the internet.