Palace: Cybercrime law defensible, but...
MANILA, Philippines - For Malacañang, the Cybercrime Prevention Act is defensible even with its contentious “take down clause,” on which critics are likely to focus as they grapple with government lawyers in pressing their arguments today before the Supreme Court (SC).
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda admitted yesterday in a press briefing that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) agreed with the measure’s opponents that the controversial “take down clause” went against the Constitution.
“Let’s wait for the decision of the Supreme Court. The position taken by the OSG is
that the ‘take down clause’ is unconstitutional but, with respect to the other issues, the solicitor general posited the position that they are defensible. So let’s wait and see,” Lacierda said.
The “take down clause” or Section 19 of Republic Act 10175 empowers the Department of Justice – without court approval – to block and restrict access to sites it deems in violation of anti-cybercrime provisions.
On Oct. 9, the SC issued a 120-day TRO on the implementation of RA 10175 and set for today the first oral argument.
Lacierda said that while Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza had expressed belief that the “take down clause” was unconstitutional, “he defended also the penalty for libel.”
Online libel is another contentious provision in the law. Critics argued the provision is violative of due process of law, equal protection of the law, free expression and right against double jeopardy.
Meanwhile, Lacierda said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) already has leads on who were behind the hacking of government websites.
“The NBI has some people in mind already as to who launched the hacking forays into government websites. Let me check with the NBI if there were some actions taken as a result of being able to identify some personalities or individuals concerned,” Lacierda said.
The latest government website to be defaced was that of the National Food Authority.
A group calling itself Anonymous Philippines has claimed responsibility and said its action is in protest of the cybercrime law.
“What we have done so far is that we held a meeting immediately after the series of attacks. We met with the office of Undersecretary (Louis Napoleon) Casambre under the DOST (Department of Science and Technology) and also with NBI. There was some planned program of action taken and we’re going to study it,” he said.