Congress urged to fast-track cybercrime law repeal

Posted at 11/06/12 9:01 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The lower House should fast-track the repeal of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, a party-list lawmaker said Tuesday.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino, in a press statement, said the House leadership must prioritize House Bill 6613, which seeks to repeal the controversial Sections 4(c)4, 5, 6, 7 and Chapter 4 of Republic Act 10175.

Section 4(c)4, 5, and 6 of RA 10175 refer to online libel of the law, which is now being questioned before the Supreme Court.

Palatino said the sections are unconstitutional because of their vagueness.

Chapter IV of RA 10175 is also unconstitutional for violating constitutional due process, Palatino added.

"A month has passed since the Supreme Court's issuance of a temporary restraining order against the Cybercrime Law, which we see as a a cue for Congress leadership to expedite the processing of repeal bills now filed in both chambers of Congress," Palatino said.

"However, Congress leadership is seemingly uninterested in the passage of the said bill," he said.

Palatino also urged lower House leaders to focus their attention on greater transparency in government under the proposed Freedom of Information Bill and the Bicameral Meeting Transparency Bill.

"The Aquino administration has kept on harping about its anti-corruption campaign. Yet the Congress leadership - composed of allies of the president - is taking eons to act upon bills that would enable such transparency," Palatino said.

As of Tuesday, Congress only has only 34 working days before it adjourns on December 21.

To give way to the campaign period for the upcoming elections, Congress will resume session for only 15 working days next year, from January 21 to February 8.

The FOI Bill is set to be discussed on November 13 at the committee level. Meanwhile, House Bill 6651 or the Bicameral Meeting Transparency Bill filed by Palatino and Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño has yet to be scheduled for deliberations.

HB 6651 sets rules for the conduct of bicameral meetings which will enable "transparency and maximum public participation" in the deliberations, Palatino said.