Fight will proceed vs libel amid SC decision - lawyer

Posted at 02/18/14 4:31 PM

MANILA - One of the petitioners against the Anti-Cybercrime Act said the fight will continue against the infringement on free speech following the Supreme Court's ruling on the new law.

In a statement issued by lawyer Harry Roque, who represents journalist Alexander Adonis, he said: “We will continue the fight to nullify criminal libel. Cyber libel is an infringement on free speech.”

In a press conference on Tuesday, SC spokesman Theodore Te said section 4 (c) (4) of the Anti-Cybercime Act, or the provision penalizing libel – is constitutional “with respect to the original author of the post.”

The SC did not allow, however, a penalty for those “who simply receive, post, react to the [message].”

Roque said the high court should not just dismiss its duty of protecting freedom of expression.

“No less than the U.N. Commission on Human Rights has already declared that Philippine Criminal Libel Law is contrary to Freedom of Expression. The Court's decision failing to declare libel as unconstitutional is therefore contrary to Human Rights Law,” he said.

Roque welcomed the SC’s move to strike down section 19 of the law, however.

"Centerlaw and our client, Alexander Adonis, welcome the other provisions of the Act such as the Take Down clause and the decision to strike down the real time gathering of information. This is indeed a major victory for privacy and the right of the people to be secure in their communication,” he said.