Justice Velasco urged to inhibit from cyber law deliberationsBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines–The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has sought the voluntary inhibition of Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr. from taking part in determining the constitutionality of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
In a four-page manifestation filed Monday, NUJP, one of the petitioners in the case, said that Velasco is the only sitting justice who filed a libel case against a member of the press.
“By availing himself of the remedy of criminal prosecution for libel against a member of the press for an online publication, Justice Velasco has indicated that he sees nothing inherently wrong about libel in general or cyber libel in particular,” NUJP stated.
Velasco filed libel charges against Marites Daguilan-Vitug, editor-at-large of Rappler.com. He filed 13 counts of libel for each day of publication. Of the 13, two cases were filed in court while Velasco withdrew the two other complaint.
Velasco was also designated to author the decision on whatever the high court’s ruling on the 15 petitions against anti-cybercrime law.
“Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Jr., who is the assigned ponente, does not sit with the cold neutrality of a dispassionate judge in relation to the provisions of RA 10175,” NUJP said.
NUJP also asked the high court to raffle off the case to another justice.
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