Aquino spokesman promises respect of civil liberties online
MANILA, Philippines—The government will not suppress civil liberties enjoyed online while implementing the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012 but is seeking a dialogue with all stakeholders, Malacañang said Wednesday.
In the face of growing protests against the law, President Benigno Aquino’s official spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Filipinos were bound by the same Constitution that guarantees civil liberties.
“As the basic law, its guarantees cannot, and will not, be diminished or reduced by any law passed by Congress,” Lacierda said at a news briefing. “The administration is equally adamant in upholding these liberties, which were regained at such high cost by our people.”
Lacierda, who was reading from a prepared statement, said that “no government entity has moved to deprive anyone of access to the Internet or to suppress civil liberties as exercised online.”
“In fact what has taken place is that hackers who claim to be aligned with critics of the Cybercrime Act are the ones who have engaged in online vandalism, depriving the broader public of access to much needed government information and services online,” he added.
Amid the protests, the executive branch sought a dialogue between Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the stakeholders prior to the crafting of the law’s implementing rules and regulations.
“We believe there is an opportunity for reasonable discourse between concerned stakeholders and the Department of Justice. This dialogue can address stakeholder concerns as the Implementing Rules and Regulations are drafted. We urge the fullest and widest participation of stakeholders in this process,” Lacierda said.
At the same time, Malacañang called on critics of the law to “speak out against online vandalism and bullying with as much vigor and passion as they have expressed in their objections to certain provisions of this law.”
“If our freedoms have been hard won, it would do us all well to remember that in the end, vigilantism harms the cause of freedom of expression and civil liberties for all netizens,” Lacierda said.
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