Guingona warns: ‘Anti-cybercrime law to stop netizens from criticizing poll bets’By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Teofisto Guingona III, one of the first to question the newly enacted Cybercrime Prevention Act before the Supreme Court, warned that the role of cyberspace in closely examining candidates in next year’s elections may be hampered with the law’s penalties on online libel.
“The cybercrime law sends a chilling effect to netizens,” Guingona said in a text message.
According to Guingona, online criticism should be expected when Internet users use the social media in evaluating candidates for national and local positions in the mid-term elections.
“Instead of scrutinizing candidates, social media users will be frightened because they might be slapped with cyber libel. … The scrutiny, I believe, should find a friendly place online,” Guingona said.
Guingona’s remarks came as the Cybercrime Prevention Act took effect on Wednesday (Oct. 3), including a provision that introduced penalties for libel on the Internet.
Some candidates have also expressed their intention to use the social media in their campaign next year as they see it as a less costly means to reach more voters.
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