Guingona to challenge cybercrime law

Posted at 09/21/12 2:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The only senator who voted against the anti-cybercrime law when the Senate passed it early this year vowed to challenge the measure, which was recently signed into law.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III said on Friday he is studying different avenues to repeal portions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2010 that he believes are unconstitutional, such as the provision on online libel.

He said one way is to take the matter to the Supreme Court. Another would be to amend the law in the next Congress.

"We can lead that effort. We certainly will. We're having meetings with some groups to see what we can do about it," Guingona told ABS-CBN News.

Guingona is against the law's provision on libel, saying it violates the constituionally guaranteed freedom of expression.

He said the libel clause amounts to "prior restraint."

"Pinipigilan mo ang tao na makapagpahayag ng damdamin niya. Tingin ko hindi dapat 'yan," he said.

"Sa tingin ko, ang mangyayari niya, 'yomg mga tao matatakot na ngayon magpahayag ng sarili nilang damdamin sa internet," Guingona added. "Malaking blow ito sa demokrasya para sa akin."

Guingona is also against the law's provision penalizing obscenity in cyberspace.

He said Congress cannot legislate morality.

"That's a matter of individual choice, indiviual values, and individual religious beliefs," he said.