Cyberspace has become the platform of the best and worst things that people can come up with when they’re online. While it’s a hotbed of game-changing ideas and artistic expression, it has also turned into a breeding ground for trolls and cyberthugs. That being said, well-meaning Pinoy lawmakers thought it best to pass Republic Act No. 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. But, wait! There’s a catch. This very same law that professes to protect us from those who would do us wrong via digital means also threatens to take away our freedom to say what we want.
Senator Tito Sotto proudly owned up to the fact that he was responsible for inserting the libel clause into the law. Senator Chiz Escudero called the insertion a “mistake” and has said that he’ll move to have the law repealed. Meanwhile, Senator TG Guingona (along with the other senators who didn’t back the law) continues to be against the law. For its part, Malacañang said President Noynoy Aquino thoroughly reviewed the law before he affixed his signature to it—a fact which strikes some people as strange. There are those who have remarked that if P-Noy’s father, Ninoy, was still around, he probably be among those protesting what has come to be called as “cyber martial law.”