Should li­bel be re­moved from cy­ber­crime law?

Panay News - - NATION -

MANILA – The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is draft­ing a bill seek­ing the re­moval of li­bel from among crimes pun­ish­able un­der the Cy­ber­crime Pre­ven­tion Act.

The com­mit­tee on in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy formed a tech­ni­cal work­ing

group that will merge four bills amend­ing Re­pub­lic Act 10175.

Li­bel has a “chill­ing ef­fect” on the ex­er­cise of free ex­pres­sion on­line, ac­cord­ing to Rep. Evelina Es­cud­ero ( Sor­so­gon, 1st Dis­trict).

“It is sub­mit­ted that any form of li­bel is a form of abridg­ing

the freedom of speech, of ex­pres­sion, of press as stated in Sec­tion 4, Ar­ti­cle III of the Con­sti­tu­tion,” Es­cud­ero said.

“None­the­less, the bill does not negate civil li­a­bil­ity in case the el­e­ments of li­bel sub­sist, which is but in con­so­nance with the pro­vi­sions of the Civil

Code on Hu­man Re­la­tions, specif­i­cally Ar­ti­cles 19 to 21 thereof,” she added.

In ad­di­tion, the draft bill also man­dates the Philippine Na­tional Po­lice ( PNP), the Na­tional Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (NBI) and the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to cre­ate

their re­spec­tive cy­ber­crime di­vi­sions.

Com­mit­tee c hair­man Rep. Vic­tor Yap ( Tar­lac, 3rd Dis­trict) said this need stems from the PNP and NBI’s 2016- 2017 re­port that showed 3,951 com­plaints and of­fenses re­lated to cy­ber­crime.

“This is more than 50 per­cent higher than the num­ber of com­plaints re­ceived in 2015, which to­taled 2,567,” said Yap. “We can only ex­pect this num­ber to rise as peo­ple are be­com­ing more and more de­pen­dent on the in­ter­net.”/

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