Palace: No 'e-Martial law'

Posted at 10/03/2012 4:08 PM | Updated as of 10/04/2012 8:29 AM

Lacierda assures protection of civil liberties despite anti-cybercrime law

MANILA - Malacañang assured that civil liberties guaranteed under the Constitution will be protected despite the effectivity of the anti-cybercrime law.
 
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda stressed that the government has not moved to “deprive anyone of access to the Internet or to suppress civil liberties as exercised online,” turning the tables instead on hackers that have defaced government websites. 
 
“In fact, what has taken place is that hackers who claim to be aligned with critics of the Cybercrime Act are the ones who have engaged in online vandalism, depriving the broader public of access to much needed government information and services online,” Lacierda said.
 
The Palace appealed to critics to refrain from hacking government websites, saying there are people who may not be able to access needed information.
 
Lacierda asked other critics of the law to denounce the hacking.
 
“‘Yung mga ginagawa ng mga hacktivist, akala nila nakakatulong sila pero ang laki ng epekto nila sa mga taong kailangan pang bumiyahe. Kaya nga tayo may online, may website para makita na po ng ating mga taumbayan kung anong mga pangangailangan, anong mga requirements, for instance, sa isang dapat gawin or makikipagtransaksyon sa gobyerno,” Lacierda said.
 
“Ang ginagawa nilang pagde-deface, pagha-hack po sa website ay nakakaapekto po sa nakakarami. And that’s the reason why we asked… those… against the cyber crime law to also denounce this acts. Kasi for the many people who require or need the information from the websites, napupuwerwisyo po sila, it prejudices them,” he added.
 
The Palace welcomes instead moves to question the constitutionality of the law through legal means in the Supreme Court and a reported plan of legislators to introduce amendments to the law.
 
“We welcome it. That’s part of the legal and constitutional processes that continue,” Lacierda said.
 
Lacierda assured the government will be “judicious” in implementing the law.
 
“We will be judicious because we are fully cognizant of the constitutional rights of people. We will work within the ambit of the Constitution. That is our guarantee to all the people,” Lacierda said, echoing a statement of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
 
Lacierda also dismissed criticisms that the government is out to implement an “e-Martial Law.”
 
“Today is the first day of the implementation of the law, we have all the papers saying stop e-Martial Law. There is freedom of expression… We have not stopped anyone from expressing their concerns,” Lacierda said.
 
The Palace continues to stand by the law, saying that it serves to address “legitimate concerns about criminal behavior on the Internet and the effects of abusive behavior.”
 
“We are concerned with freedom of expression but for a website that falsely claims, for instance, you… have AIDS how does one address that? It’s definitely damaging to [your] reputation,” Lacierda said. “There will be instances where abuses on the expression will be done. So how does one correct that?”
 
The Official Gazette has uploaded on its website transcripts of the Senate deliberation on the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 “from the time it was sponsored by Senator [Edgardo] Angara up to the discussions on the bicam report.”
 
Lacierda said there has been misinformation on some details about the law, including when the provision on online libel was inserted.
 
“Online libel was inserted by Senator [Tito] Sotto in the Senate deliberation. The takedown clause was also inserted during the Senate deliberation for the record. However, the penalty on the libel provision was inserted in bicam. That’s why there has been misinformation on that point that’s why we are clearing out,” Lacierda said.
 
The Palace is urging all stakeholders to participate in a dialogue as the government crafts the implementing rules and regulations of the law.