'Congress won't defend take-down clause in Cybercrime Act'
MANILA (UPDATED) - Congress is not keen on defending the so-called "take-down clause" or Sec. 19 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, according to a lawyer for the petitioners against the controversial law.
Speaking to reporters at the Supreme Court (SC), Atty. Harry Roque bared that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) formally informed the high court that Congress will not send a lawyer to defend the provision during government's turn in the oral arguments.
The OSG was scheduled to present its oral arguments on Tuesday but suddenly asked for a postponement after having been summoned by Malacanan for an "important matter."
Roque hailed Congress' supposed decision not to defend Sec. 19 anymore.
"Sa amin, mukhang magandang balita yan... ang lumalabas dito na walang ahensya ng gobyerno na dedepensa doon sa sinasabi natint 'take-down clause...' mukhang hindi nila (government) tinututulan yung sinasabi ng petitioners na labag siya (Sec. 19) sa Saligang Batas," Roque said.
Sec. 19 authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue an order to restrict or block access to computer data found prima facie to be in violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
The OSG earlier informed the Supreme Court that the said provision is indeed unconstitutional.
"The OSG agrees with petitioners that Sec. 19 is unconstitutional because it permits a final restraint on expression without prior judicial determination of illegality," the high court's advisory on the oral arguments noted.
The petitioners, meantime, lamented the postponement of the oral arguments, pointing out that the case needs to be resolved the soonest possible time. They also urged the high court to extend the 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the law's implementation.