Philippine High Court Declares Cybercrime Law Constitutional

It will be recalled that in October 2012, the Philippine’s Supreme Court ordered the suspension of the country’s pioneer cybercrime law following the unprecedented criticisms about its constitutionality.

Photo Credit: Francis R. Malasig / PhilippineNews.com

Photo Credit: Francis R. Malasig / PhilippineNews.com

And after further review of the said bill, in February 2014 the Philippine’s top court ruled out that RA 10175 is indeed constitutional.

Thus, putting in effect the regulations and punishments of online libel. However, there are certain revisions to the cybercrime law. Initially, all parties that partake in online libel are punishable by law. Following its declaration as being constitutional, it comes with conditions that only the original author will be held liable. Thus, any other party that reacted to a libelous post are exempted from any legal sanctions.

Supreme Court Affirms its Ruling

If libel offenders are proven to be guilty, they may be imprisoned for “minimum or medium jail terms” (six months to four years). Under the Revised Penal Code, it may also fine offenders an amount ranging from P200.00 to P6000.00.

Declaring the constitutionality of Republic Act 10175 only triggered more outrage from citizens and various groups. Certain petitioners have filed for motions for reconsideration. Members of academia, the media, and group of students and legal practitioners were among the ones that challenged the high court’s ruling over the controversial provisions.

Months after declaring the legality of the cybercrime law in the Philippines, the Supreme Court junked all constitutional questions raised on various provisions of RA 10175. Reacting to this decision by the high tribunal, militant groups and the petitioners call on every Filipino to continue fighting for their right to freedom of expression.

Think Before You Click When in the Philippines

Even before cyber libel was signed into law, oppression of freedom of expression or speech was already rampant in the country. With the approval of RA 10175, it only formalized and illegalized any form of blatant outrage against the government.

Filipinos will continue to fight for their right to freedom of speech that’s for sure. But as of now, the government has won. So before you post something, make sure you aren’t ranting about or accusing the corrupt system that runs in the country. Otherwise, you will end up in jail.