SC justice says prosecution of cyber libel ‘clearly infirm’


05:32 PM January 15th, 2013

By: Tetch Torres, January 15th, 2013

The Supreme Court building in Manila. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The provision under the Cybercrime Prevention Act which allows the prosecution of cyber libel and violation of the Revised Penal Code at the same time is “clearly infirm,” a justice of the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

Under Section 7 of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, if prosecuted for libel under this law, the violator can still be prosecuted for violation under the Revised Penal Code which also provides penalty and defines the crime of libel.

Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro said the law allows prosecution for both violation of the Revised Penal Code and a special law.

She cited the case of bouncing checks which prosecutes one for Estafa under the RPC and violation of BP22 at the same time.

However, she said, in the bouncing check case, there is a distinguishing element which allows simultaneous violation of both laws-in RPC, there has to be the element of deceit while under BP22, the issuer of the check is prosecuted for mere issuing a bouncing check.

“But in this case, there is no additional element to distinguish crime under this law [RA 10175] and what is included in the RPC. What is mentioned in Section 7 is not an element of the crime. What section 6 penalizes is the same as that in the RPC,” De Castro said.

Representative Neri Colmenares told the high court that simultaneous prosecution for libel is a violation of the right against double jeopardy where no person can be charged for the same offense twice.

Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta who echoed De Castro’s observation took note that while lawmakers increased the penalty of Internet libel by one degree or six years and one day to 12 year imprisonment from six months and 1 day to 6 years, it was not justified why the penalty was increased.

“By increasing the penalty by 1 degree, you are already providing for a different kind of libel but no new element was introduced…Section 7 is clearly infirm. There is something wrong with this,” Peralta said.

The oral argument is still ongoing.

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  • Beguine

    The cyber law or any attempt to govern the net is not only
    infirm, madly sick and sickening, it is the dumbest thing yet
    to come out in a long long while.

    In the first place, it’s a stupid rehash of very old existing laws
    against personal opinion and opposition particularly to politicians.

    Second, it is an attempt to censure the privacy of cyber users
    which is supposed to be nobody’s business. It’s cyber space
    for God’s sake and everybody must have his/her privacy.

    Only sane and correct solution: junk, drap, scrap it. No way
    a law such as this should be ratified and enforced. No lawmakers
    should ever be allowed in cyber space.

    On the other hand, violence and mental or spirital torture to any person caused by cyber users
    must be punished, and severely. Indeed, words hurt and cut deeper
    than a sword, but violence cannot and should never be tolerated.  

    In other words, there should never be any law against cyber users,
    but criminally-minded cyber users must answer for their terrible crimes.

  • agustin

    In algebra if you add two similar signs (+),(-) the result is positive, here we have cybercrime as unconstitutional (-) plus (-) as the infirm leader of the nation. the result is positive.

    • Iggy Ramirez

      No. The sign of the result when a positive and a negative integer are added depends on whether which one is farther than zero. When you multiply a positive and a negative integer, the result is negative. When you multiply two negative integers, the result is positive.

      So yes, the circumstances of the bill being unconstitutional and calling the president infirm follows the laws of mathematics.

    • magsasakasanayon

       idiot. if you add two negatives, the result is also negative. if you multiply two negatives, then the result will be positive. review your algebra, retard.

      • agustin

         Good, you have a knowledge of algebra,but i am referring to logic algebra. are you a fan of Noy AB.?

  • parefrank

    Infim? And why the Dr. jur h.c. Noynoy still signed it into law? Looks he is also infirm, despite so many advisers.

    • tipay

      mga tanga kasi ang mga politiko lol

    • noyab

      ngayon mo lang ba nalaman na matagal ng infirm ang pangulo mo…..

  • James Taguba Penton

    urgent kasi ang pagpasa para di sila masaway sa kabuktutan nila…

  • James Taguba Penton

    unahin sana nila FOI bill baka sila pa ang iboto ko sa eleksyon…

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