Aquino: Libel provision must stay but penalty may be changed


12:51 PM October 5th, 2012

By: TJ Burgonio, October 5th, 2012 12:51 PM

President Benigno Aquino III

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—President Benigno Aquino III said Friday the provision on libel in the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act should stay but left it to lawmakers to amend the provision on what penalty to impose on violators.

“On the libel provision, I don’t agree that it should be removed. If you write something libelous, you’re liable. If you’re a broadcaster and air it on radio or TV, you’re also liable. When it comes out in the Internet that’s still libelous. Whatever format it is, the person whose rights were impinged should have redress,’’ the President told reporters here following the mass oath-taking of Liberal Party members.

“If the penalty is too high, then it should be amended,’’ he added.

Pressed on the libel provision, Aquino said: “If you write something libelous, you have a libel case, even civil offenses. If you broadcast the same matter on TV or radio, that’s still libelous. If it comes out in the Internet, it’s no longer libelous? If it’s a different format, it shouldn’t be libelous?’’

Since it has been enacted, Mr. Aquino said, the Executive Department should execute the law, and it was up to the Supreme Court to rule on its constitutionality and Congress to amend it.

“If we don’t implement it, I’m liable for dereliction of duty. I can be impeached,’’ he said.

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