In 2010 I campaigned for several candidates who I thought were truly deserving of being in the Senate. One of the senators I campaigned the hardest for (next only to my Tita Toots of course hehe) is Senator TG Guingona. Today I can say that I am happy and proud to have campaigned for him. He’s the only Senator that actually opposed and voted against the Cybercrime Act. Here’s his full statement.
EXPLANATION OF SEN. GUINGONA IN OPPOSING THE CYBERCRIME ACT
I opposed the passage of the Cybercrime Act because when I stood up to question this law on constitutional grounds, I was concerned about prior restraint.
First, some parts of the bill clearly attempts to legislate morality and penalize people if they breach our standards. I feel that as legislators, we have no right to dictate what people should or should not see. Unjustifiable prior restraint is an archaic policy that should not be in our statute books.
Furthermore, the law that was finally approved has the following problematic provisions:
Transplanting the Revised Penal Code definition of libel without specifying who is liable exposes the owner of online newspapers, blogs, sites to liability. This is problematic because in the case of online communities, people are encouraged to actually participate (make comments, re-tweet, repost on facebook). With this law, editors and owners of these sites will be forced to lock down their websites and prevent people from commenting. I believe that editors can regulate the works of their writers but if you gag the general public, surely the Constitutional right to freedom of expression is threatened.
This Act is a prior restraint on the principle of the freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This law sets us back. We cannot legislate morality. The Spanish inquisition has long been disbanded. I do not know why we are reviving it today.
A news item already came out earlier today saying that Senator Guingona will be challenging the Cybercrime Act by bringing it to the Supreme Court or tackling it in the next Congress. In whatever way I can, I will volunteer and support TG on this one.