Karapatan keeps fight vs Cybercrime law, calls attention of UN

Karapatan, on October 8, 2012, brought the issue of the Cybercrime law to the attention of the United Nations, through Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

While the Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) for the implementation of the Cybercrime law for 120 days, “the people must remain vigilant against all possible maneuvers by the Aquino government to implement the said law,” said Karapatan secretary general, Cristina Palabay.  

The letter of complaint sent to the United Nations asked the Special Rapporteurs to urge and recommend to the Government of the Philippines to junk the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and other similar measures, such as the Anti-Terrorism Act, that suppress civil liberties and human rights; and for the Aquino government to take measures to respect and uphold the freedom of speech, expression and of the press.  

Karapatan said that the cybercrime law will pave the way for more abuses by the government. Karapatan uses the internet to “articulate our analyses on rights violations which, most of the time, are not reported on mainstream media. The internet is a tool for us to expose state-sponsored abuses. With the enactment of the Cybercrime law, our right to free speech is clearly jeopardized.”

Palabay added that, “the Aquino government did not only violate our basic rights embodied in the Philippine Constitution, it also transgressed international human rights conventions and declarations, including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of which the Philippines is a signatory.”

“With the Supreme Court’s TRO, the people have won, partially. We owe it to the people to keep up the fight against this repressive measure. The cybercrime law must be scrapped as soon as possible. We will not allow the ghost of martial rule to haunt us again, whether online or offline,” Palabay concluded.

To date, 15 petitions to declare the said law unconstitutional/null and void has been filed before the Supreme Court.