It’s criminally liable to like libelous Facebook post, says gov’t lawyer


04:36 PM January 29th, 2013

By: Tetch Torres, January 29th, 2013


MANILA, Philippines—The government on Tuesday admitted before the Supreme Court that liking, sharing libelous Facebook and twitter posts can make one person criminally liable, prompting a Supreme Court Justice to say that it creates a chilling effect.

“It is not an excuse that thousands of defamatory statements are on the Internet. Then, we have to scrap the law,” Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza said during Tuesday’s oral argument.

“Defamation is defamation whether we communicate through megaphones, letters, person to person, tweets, Facebook or e-mail,” Jardeleza added.

Associate Justice Roberto Abad said with the criminal liability that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 creates, “it will make me now reluctant to express my view.”

Abad likened liking and sharing of posts on Facebooks and twitters to showing a friend a libellous material posted on a bulletin board.

Jardeleza said, in that situation, there is no liability because it cannot be considered a republication.

“Unless this law is clarified, it has a chilling effect,” Abad said.

Jardeleza argued that things can go viral.

“What do we do? Until either this court says reputation is not a value anymore, this can be a difficult question,” he told Abad.

Another contentious provision of the Cybercrime Prevention Act,  Section 12 or the Collection of Traffic Data, was also tackled and government lawyers admitted before the SC that it is “barely constitutional.”

Section 12 of the law provides that “law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.”

The same provision of the law provides that traffic data “refers only to the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration or type of underlying service but not content nor identities.”

High Court Justices asked what specifically is traffic data.

During the questioning of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Jardeleza said traffic data could include private data. However, he said it cannot be considered violation of the right to privacy since no court has declared it private.

Carpio asked Jardeleza if for example a police officer tries to get a traffic data about him, will he raise the defense of privacy?

“I cannot argue privacy because the data on phone is external data therefore, that is not covered by privacy…Taking as instructive the experience in the US, in that jurisdiction, traffic data can be exercised if the trigger is a Federal State attorney,” Jardeleza said.

“But here any police can do it,” Carpio said.

“That is why my answer is it is constitutional but barely,” Jardeleza said.

Jardeleza added that collection of traffic data is allowed as long as there is “due cause.”

Carpio, together with Sereno, Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Mariano Del Castillo, Jose Perez asked what is due cause.

Jardeleza said “unfortunately, that is one of our misgivings under the law.”

“The law does not define what due cause means. Who will initiate the determination of due cause,” De Castro asked.

“You are right your honor,” Jardeleza said.

Sereno noted that Jardeleza himself demonstrated unease with Section 12.

“Section 12 grapples with due cause. What kind of animal is this and who will identify this animal…This section is the heart of the law, without this, this law is good for nothing,” Sereno said.

Without the Cybercrime Law, Carpio said, hacking can still be prosecuted under Republic Act 8792 or the E-Commerce Law.

“Even if we void this law, it is not a problem, hacker can still be penalized,” Carpio said.

The high court gave both the government and the anti-cybercrime law advocates 20 days to submit their memoranda.

However, extension of the restraining order on the implementation of the law will still be discussed by the court. The restraining order will expire on Feb. 5.

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  • rage b.

    So go ahead para ma TRACE nyo kung tunay and mga accounts sa facebook at twitter saka kailangan malaki ang budget nyo para dyan. make my day :(  lalo mag clog ang justice system sa pinas sa dami nang cases dagdag pa to most of the law are not properly implemented,years ang abutin nito.

  • ulrich j

    Another law again?    More  laws means more cases.   More cases  means more money to spend on all these cases.   In our Philippine Justice systeme more money means  more kurakot officials  will become  instant millionaires… Ang dami nating batas nakakahilo na…
    Expressing opinions defamatory  or not  is still  an opinion..Krimen  na?  
    Where is our freedom of expression which is guaranteed in the Constituition?

    • Beng 白火

      Now this is a proper comment~

      Indeed… we are full of unresolved cases, at minsan pinapatagal na lang, minsan naman gumagawa lang ng issue para makalimutan ang nauna na hindi kayang resolbahin…
      Iilang Pilipino lang ba ang nakakaalam ng buong nilalaman ng Konstitusyon? Ng responsibilidad at karapatan na naayon sa Konstitusyon?

  • Gilmore Santiago


  • koy-bili

    No problem with this law…. if somebody is hauled to court on an important issue via cyberspace then let’s all troop to fb and re-twt and let’s see if the courts can accommodate us all…failure of the courts to bring millions to court on the same issue will definitely make the case moot . ha-ha-ha

  • c

     as in kapatid mo ba si pitbuldog, leomar101?

    • leomar101

       oooy, nasaktan siya dahil totoo ang sinasabi namin. hahaha. O sige maglatag ka ng argumento  para makita namin at masagot. Huwag lang name calling ang kayang maisulat mo. hahaha

  • Pitbulldog

    Ayaw na ni P-noy na may nagsasabing pangit siya at mukhang itlog.  gusto niya, guwapo lang siya at kahanga-hanga (syet).  Abnoy na P-noy, marami nang presidente ang dumaan sa Pinas, ikaw lang sa lahat at pinaka-bobo na, pinaka-timang na, pinaka walang kwenta pa, kaya wag ka nang magpumilit pa dahil talagag ungas ka…..

    • leomar101

       hahaha, you got it right.

    • c

       yong mga magulang mo, pitbulldog, if may magulang ka man, masama rin ba ugali nila katulad mo?

      • Pitbulldog

        Ano sa tinging mo, maganda ba ugali ng idol mong si P-noy abnoy?  Mula’t saput pa, alam kong hindi.  Sinungaling at ipokrito yan.  Ako, o kami (dahil sinama mo na mga Labrador Retriever kong parents), honest sa pagsasabing hangal siya at abnoy talaga.

    • Beng 白火

      Wag natin ibaba ang lebel ng pagiisip natin… “walang personalan”… kaya nagkakalintik-lintik netizens dahil sa ganito kababaw at hindi pinag-iisipang komentaryo eh!

      We know you HATE this news and maybe you hate P-noy, some of us here may have the same feelings, but let us see the facts and figures first… we are not savages, marunong tayo gumamit ng computer at internet.. marunong tayo magbasa, magsulat at umintindi… sana lagyan natin ng bahid ng kahit kaunting katalinuhan ang mga komento natin!
      At laging nandirito ang “Flag” icon!

      • Pitbulldog

        Now you hate me…sorry but I have no regrets.  E ikaw, pakiramdam mo ba, ang level ng pag-iisip mo, ka-level ni P-noy?  O siya sige, bahala ka dahil yan ang pakiramdam mo sa sarili mo.  In my case, iba ako at wag mo ako igaya kay P-noy please.  By the way, is this the first time you have been reading criticisms and spiteful comments against somebody?  Mas masahol pa diyan ang mababasa mo from your yellow pals.  And yet you prefer not to read what the other side has to say…Sobra naman ikaw.

      • Beng 白火

        If you really are that confident with you comment and you can prove your statement in court, in line with our justice system… then you should have posted your personal account (and not hide in such faceless pseudo name) to put a spine on your comment…

        I’m not alienated on spiteful comments, it’s a freedom of expression, ngunit hindi dahil ginagawa ng iba ay gagawin narin natin…. Do note that I wasn’t boxing you out from the rest of commentators, “walang personalan”, look on how I use the word “us”, “natin” and “we”, “tayo” on my reply. 
        If you are hurt by my comment, without even me using spiteful words, imagine the intensity if someone have used such foul language, like that of your comment?
        Let’s all be rational, emotions come second…

      • Pitbulldog

        I know how to take criticsms, be they good or bad.  When your conscience is clear, then you have nothing to deny or worry about di ba?  Do not tell people not to say this and say only that.  That’s a shade of dictatorship.  Tell that to P-noy.   He and the yellows are the usual targets of my comments.  Panggising yan.  Call it libelous if not true.  If true, why react? 

      • Beng 白火

        Freedom of expression brother~ we can’t be B*tchin’ about it when we are the ones attacked! 

      • Pitbulldog

        He he, kung liblous man ang mga banat kay P-noy, sa tingin ko mas masahol ang libelous statement ng mga yellows at pasimuno na si P-noy kung libel/cybercrime din lang ang pag-uusupan kung ma-approve man.  Remember that, mga algasyon nyo laban kay GMA ay puro kabuwangan.  Libel din yan pag di nyo napatunayan…

      • Beng 白火

        I don’t really care about them~ I just don’t want them causing me trouble for liking a post on my facebook!

      • leomar101

         We have the right to express our opinion here. Unless we are already in a dictatorial state.  Talk of decency? address your concern to the yelo attack dogs.

      • Beng 白火

        At nahihiwagaan pa ako sa sistema ng edukasyon at disiplina sa ating bansa… “chain reaction” “action-and reaction” effect…

        Dahil mag gumagawa ng “ganoon” na mas hindi tama… pwede na gawin?
        Maybe you are right…
        Link on “yelo attack dogs” please~ 

        And it’s not decency~ it’s more of being “proper”… something na pinag-isipan bago isulat~ emotions just have to follow second to rational thinking~ Dapat ang totoong Pilipino na may pagmamahal sa bayan nila, at concern sa kanilang karapatan ay may kaukulang kaalaman… kaalaman higit patungkol sa kanilang responsibilidad. Tama po ba ako?

      • leomar101

         Hahaha, you talked so much on decency, Of course I can be decent depending on sino ang kausap ko. Nobody has the monopoly of evil.may kasabihan. I will appreciate so much if you also talked  about the decency of the people in power to lead by example. What is loathsome is that knowing how these supposed clean politicians pretend to be what they are not. The billions if not trillions of taxpayers money drained straight to ther pocket. All those years. Just look at the present GAA which costed 2 trillions of taxpayers money. Scrutinized it and you will find out from the highest official of the land had billions of public funds at his disposal which is not subject to  any accounting. That’s for starter only ha. When one speak of transparency and do the same thing that  they abhor during election time is what we called double blade policy. Shouting the daang matuwid but doing the same evil like the past is pagkunwari in the highest form. plastikan na lang hahaha.

      • Beng 白火

        Stay focus on the topic at hand…

        Anyway~ These “people in power” they tend to make their words sound less “palengkera”, less stupid, but if you look at the context it’s the same…
        So we people,we should do the same… in that way, we don’t sound too low for them… meaning hindi nila tayo pwede maliitin, hindi nila iisiping wala tayong pinag-aralan… kaya dapat ang mga comment natin “smart” din! 

      • leomar101

         Is it not smart enough if I will voice my disgust on how corruption is as rampant as before. and by voicing it out I will be branded as anti-government? hahaha You use “we people” but stop short of telling that yelo people should also be fair in labelling people not on their side. Okey let’s go back to what you wanted to discuss. Kahit anong angolo at side and titingnan natin the way this solicitor is trying to defend the more he look so bobo with his argument. It shows really the real color of this baby dictator. hahaha. Ano bang definition mo ng smart? what ever your  definition ay iyo lang yan. huwag mo akong idamay. I have my own difinition too. Yan ang masarap kung malaya tayo at hindi laging takot na baka kasohan ni mongol.

      • spitfire

         Like, a million times. I will re tweet it later, rotf lol.

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    01. Criminally liable din ba ang mag-like sa Anti-Corona facebook?

    02. Criminally liable din ba ang nag-share ng article about Gigi Reyes which was published by Chicago Tribune way back in 1998?

    03. Criminally liable din ba ang mag-like sa youtube? Paano na yung mga nag-comment sa viral video ni Gigi Reyes?

    Sobrang obvious naman itong gobyerno. Nakita lang kung pano pinatumba si Corona at Enrile ng social media, ngayon hindi na pabor sa social media at online freedom.

    • DarkJustice

      Liking a post that is against the govt, criminally liable pero pag liking a post that is  a pro-govt,hindi! hahaha..

      • Weder-Weder Lang

        Unfair naman yata yan. Double standards.

  • InSearchOfTruth


    let’s just say for example i posted a “libellious” comment against a trapo.  and then a million or two people liked my post.  how does the trapo plan to sue those 1 or 2 million likers?  any trapo who have the resources to sue a million or two people?

    • Darwin

      Last time I heard, they will select whom to sue. Malas mo kung ikaw napili. This all the more makes the proposed law SOOOOO vague.

    • WeAry_Bat

       Mey one year old baby girl ako…Mag-like ba ako sa gagawin mo pagdating ng panahon at mapabilanggo ako?


      Kaysa anak ko mabilanggo pagdating sa panahon niya at mag-like siya sa pagsabi na ang anak ng isang idiot ay idiot rin sa pulitika!

  • Victory

    Facebook should add pop-up after you click Like button: “WARNING! Liking is dangerous to your life.

  • Beng 白火

    NO worries people… ang simpleng “Bawal Manigarilyo” sa pampublikong sasakyan at terminal, ang “Bawal Magtapong ng Basura Dito”, Ang “Bawal Tumawid”, ang “Bawal Magsakay at Bawal Magbaba” ang “Bawal Dumura”, “Bawal Umihi Dito”, ang “Bawal Manglimos at Magpalimos”… ay hindi naipapatupad ng tama.. ito pa kayang hightech?

    • marionics

      bawal pumatay nga o magbenta ng droga hindi napapatupad e

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