Don’t get me wrong. I believe that we need a good Cybercrime law; however, RA 10175 simply doesn’t cut it for me. I’m sure you’ve read all the arguments. I’m sure you’ve already made up your minds. For me, however, this is personal.
My gripe is with the inclusion of the LIBEL clause into the Bill. Without proper and meticulous definitions of "libel", it would be so easy to abuse this clause. I should know. I was a victim.
In 2009, my late father hung a protest banner at our gate. He was protesting the legitimacy of our village association's new set of officers. On the banner was a simple question, "Where are the proxies, Mr. Secretary?" Since I agreed with him, I didn't take the banner down.
Later that same year, I received a warrant of arrest... The case was LIBEL. Though I had nothing to do with the banner or its contents, I was charged with this crime. They couldn't charge my dad because he was already 78 years old at that time... so they charged me.
I spent a day in a detention cell before I was able to raise the bail bond. Had I not been able to raise the money, I would have spent the entire trial period (2.5 years) in a detention cell. By April of this year, the case was thrown out because there was really no basis for it in the first place.
My point is this...
Don't take this law lightly! If the original Libel Law can be abused, this new Cybercrime Law makes it much easier to abuse it even further. Furthermore, the corresponding sentence for this new form of libel is much more vicious than that of original libel.
I just don’t see how this will not be abused.
The Government says that the solution is to simply “watch what we say”. Knowing first hand how our justice system works, I can tell you with conviction that it isn’t as simple as watching our words… because the abuse won’t necessarily come from Government. It will come (mostly) from the people around us who will find a way to use this law to hurt us.
In my case, I got thrown in a detention cell (could have been 2.5 years) for no reason at all. Someone simply pointed a finger at me and (viola) I'm a criminal. If I couldn't afford to post bail, my life would have been destroyed. It's that easy.
Don't think it won't happen to you.
is the Managing Director of Our-Knowledge Asia and a Business Consultant for Local and Foreign Start-ups, SMEs and Organizations based in the Philippines.