Santiago files bill to repeal cybercrime law
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that if passed into law would repeal the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Santiago said Senate Bill No. 53, known as the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF), would protect the rights and freedoms of Filipinos in cyberspace, while defining and penalizing cybercrimes.
“While it is important to crackdown on criminal activities on the Internet, protecting constitutional rights like free expression, privacy, and due process should hold a higher place in crafting laws,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
Santiago said the MCPIF upholds the right to free speech of Filipinos on cyberspace “unlike the much-criticized Cybercrime Prevention Act.”
“The MCPIF treats libel as a civil liability rather than a criminal act. It is not overbroad or vague in its provisions on libel, unlike the cybercrime law,” she explained.
If passed into law, Santiago said, the bill would repeal the Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
“R.A. 10175 confines the Philippines to 20th century capabilities in this 21st century information society. Clearly, laws that have an impact on cyberspace must address the realities of the present and the challenges of the future,” she said.
The proposed MCPIF, if passed, Santiago said, would also be the first law to be created through “crowdsourcing.”
Crowdsourcing is an online process of getting work done by tapping people on the Internet who volunteer their talent and skills.
The senator said a group of concerned netizens composed of software designers, IT specialists, academics, bloggers, engineers, lawyers, human rights advocates approached her office with a draft of the MCPIF.
The group formulated the MCPIF through discussions in an open Facebook group, email, Google Hangout teleconferences, and social media channels like Twitter.
“I call on all our young people to voice their support for this bill through social media. You are our new opinion-leaders. After the RH Bill, we saw how powerful social media can be in advancing our causes,” Santiago said.