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Working Draft of the Monograph on the

Philippine Anti-Cybercrime Law Struggle


(for internal discussion, June 7, 2015)
Prepared by Carlos O. Tulali

1. What is the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012? (12 pages max)


The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, officially recorded as Republic Act No. 10175, is a law in the
Philippines approved on September 12, 2012. It aims to address legal issues concerning online
interactions and the Internet in the Philippines. Among the cybercrime offenses included in the bill
are cybersquatting, cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel.
a. History and timeline when it was first proposed, who proposed it, what happened during the past
Congress why it didnt get through (1 page)
Here is a timeline of developments that happened through the years involving the struggles of many
in pushing for a cybercrime legislation 1 2 3.
Year 2000
When the E-Commerce Law (Republic Act 8792) was passed, the Philippines then was considered
as one of the countries with advance legislation in prosecuting cybercrime. As the legislation was
only passed last June 2000, it wasnt able to prosecute Onel De Guzman who is believed to be the
culprit behind the I Love You Virus as the cybercrime got committed a month prior to the laws
passage.
The I Love You Virus case brought us to the reality of how global cybercrime can be where
prosecution in one country may not be sufficient when majority of victims maybe residing in another
location. The said virus caused damage from US$2 to 5 billion.
Efforts in registering the Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PH-CERT) started with
the support of the National Computer Center.
Year 2001 2002

Toral, J. (2012). Timeline: Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012: A Law 11 Years in the Making, DgitalFilipino.com, October
6. (availabe at http://digitalfilipino.com/timeline-cybercrime-prevention-act-of-2012-a-law-11-years-in-the-making/)
2
Ilagan, K.A.M. (2012). 15th Congress: The Morphing of the Cybercrime Prevention Law, Philippine Center for Investigative
Journalism, September 28. (available at: http://pcij.org/stories/the-morphing-of-the-cybercrime-prevention-law/)
3
Tubadeza, K.M. (2012). Anti-Cybercrime law timeline: The law that launched a thousand memes, Businessworld Online,
October 20. (available at: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Beyond&title=Anti-Cybercrime-law-timeline:Thelaw-that-launched-a-thousand-memes-&id=59817)

Nearly two years after the laws passage, a growing number of hacking attacks and cybercrimes
were recorded. Most victims do not file a complaint for lack of clarity on how the process works.
Law enforcement was lagging behind due to lack of resources as the law did not specifically provided
for it.
In 2001, a Convention on Cybercrime was proposed encouraging countries with cybercrime
legislation to become a signatory. Countries with cybercrime legislation will pave the way for
hackers who have caused havoc to be accountable in countries where he or she has cause damage.
As the Philippines did not have one, it cant participate in these efforts.
Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PH-CERT) was launched at One Internet Day 2001.
However, a Anti-Cybercrime bill (2001) was filed as early as then by former Congressman Eric D.
Singson. In the Senate, Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. was also a supporter of the said legislation.
First Internet libel case filed when DotPH CEO Joel Disini sued Fernando Contreras Jr. of Philippine
Domain Authority Convenors. Both parties used electronic documents against each other as
evidence in court. The case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
Year 2003
Another Cybercrime bill was filed in 2003 that is seen as a complement to the E-Commerce Law and
Intellectual Property Code.
A growing number of companies are coming out as well announcing cases they have filed against
local scammers and hackers taking advantage of Filipino e-commerce sites. TSSI in 2003, with the
cooperation of authorities, entrapped 3 suspected money remittance service fraudster who uses
stolen credit cards to load money in the service.
With the growing number of crimes, organizations such as the Philippine Computer Emergency
Response Team (PH-CERT) took on the advocacy of pushing for the passage of a Cybercrime
legislation.
Year 2004
The growth of home-based workers and BPO industries further strengthen the need for a
Cybercrime Law as it is seen a factor in contributing to the future growth of this sector. This is
important as investors have a lot of choices in the region and having an efficient cybercrime
legislation is seen as critical. Although most legislations around the world are local in application by
nature.
Year 2005
First cybercrime conviction happened with JJ Maria Giner convicted under the E-Commerce Law for
hacking the governments .gov.ph site. (Criminal Case No. 419672-CR filed at Branch 14 of the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila under Judge Rosalyn Mislos-Loja)

On its 10th revision, the Cybercrime Prevention Bill was revised and covered cellphone transactions
and anti-spam measures. The International Intellectual Property Alliance saw the Cybercrime bill as
an important measure in fighting copyright piracy on the Internet.
Data Privacy legislation need became evident this year for outsourcing competitiveness.
Year 2006
In 2006, the enactment of a cybercrime legislation was also included in the countrys ICT roadmap.
Year 2007
The CICT took a proactive role in advocating for various laws such as the Cybercrime Bill. Various
groups also participated in hearings and consultation on various ICT policies.
Growth in cybersex and child trafficking rings were noted. Worries that not having a Cybercrime
Law will make the Philippines a haven for individuals engage in various cybercrime. The DOJ believes
that the proposed law should not duplicate other laws to avoid giving an escape clause for
offenders.
Interest surge for a law also happened this year when the site Boy Bastos got Senator Loren
Legardas attention as it linked to porn and sex scandal videos. He was caught but was later released
for lack of law covering cyber-pornography.
An International Conference on Cybercrime took place this year that paved the way for a
consolidated Cybercrime bill. Internet piracy provisions were also considered.
Efforts to form a Government Security Incident Response Team (GSIRT) started.
However, as in the past years, cybercrime legislation was observed to be of low priority.
Year 2008
As the years and technology has evolved, the E-Commerce Law was deemed lacking in prosecuting
a growing number of forms of cybercrime as technologies evolve. The lack of a law also unable the
country to participate in conventions that intends to facilitate mutual cooperation.
It was noted 87% of emails Filipino received this year were spam.
Law enforcement was also becoming impatient as much is expected from them but the lack of law
is preventing them from making progress. Although investigation methodology improvements were
being made continuously.
CICT proceeded in endorsing its Cybercrime Bill versions.
Senator Manny Villar also filed his version of Anti-Cybercrime Act. Former Congressman Joseph
Santiago also has counterpart Cybercrime bills.
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The first case filed this year involved stealing of company secrets.
First public key infrastructure seminar also happened this year which done to support plans for a
National Public Key Infrastructure.
Guidelines for Habeas Data came out this year.
Year 2009
Need for a Cybercrime bill got a renewed boost this year when the Katrina Hall and Hayden Kho sex
scandal went viral as it involves computer theft and unauthorized access to information that got
posted online.
CICT formed its own cybercrime unit.
Senator Antonio Trillianes IV filed his version of Cybercrime Bill.
Committee report on the Cybercrime Bill (report #770 resulting to Senate Bill 3553) were referred
to the Committee on Rules this year. House Bill 6794 got approved. Legislators exerted effort to fast
track it.
Atty. Geronimo Sy sees constant advocacy as key to push for legislation passage.
Year 2010
In 2010, Norton reported that 9 out of 10 Filipinos are victims of various forms of cybercrime ranging
from hacking attacks to online scams.
PH-CERT also renewed calls for the passage of Cybercrime Bill. It was passed at the House of
Representatives but got stalled in the Senate due to the election season.
Year 2011
Committee Report on Cybercrime Bill was submitted to the House of Representatives.
May 11, 2011: Senate Bill (SB) No. 2796 or "An Act Defining Cybercrime, Providing for Prevention,
Investigation and Imposition of Penalties Therefore and for Other Purposes" was tackled on the
Senate floor for the first time with the bill's author, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, delivering
sponsorship speech of SB 2796 under Committee Report No. 30.
December 12, 2011: Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III asked if SB 2796 "covers acts such as
sending coarse and offensive comments against someone via Twitter and Facebook."
Senator Edgardo J. Angara then said "with proper authorization, the NBI and PNP forensic experts
can trace the source even if anonymous names were used."

When asked if "ones reputation can easily be ruined and damaged by posts and comments in social
network sites," Mr. Angara "stated that under the proposed law, the offended party can sue the
person responsible for posting such comments."
Year 2012
The principal author of Republic Act 10715 is Senator Edgardo Angara. However, the heavily
debated section of the Bill, which is the provision for online libel, was inserted without the
knowledge of other legislators, by Senator Tito S. Sotto, who prior the passing of the bill, has been
lashed by the public for reportedly lifting texts and excerpts from certain online blogs.
January 24, 2012: Mr. Sotto proposed the insertion of a paragraph on libel and was accepted by Mr.
Angara.
Feb. 9, 2012: Committee Report No. 01818 was submitted by the Committee on Information and
Communications Technology, recommending its approval.
H.B. No. 5808 also substituted for H.B. Nos. 00085, 00167, 00364, 00383, 00511, 01444, 02279,
03376, 04031, and 04162.
Feb. 13, 2012: House Bill No. 5808 was referred to the Committee on Rules.
May 9, 2012: Sponsorship, interpellations, and amendments were made. Kabataan Party-List Rep.
Raymond V. Palatino and ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio made interpellations. The
bill was approved on second reading.
May 15, 2012: The bill was recommitted and reconsidered. The reconsidered measure was
approved.
Remark of Bill History: Adopted the Explanatory Note as the sponsorship remarks.
May 21, 2012: The bill was approved on third reading with 211 yeas and zero nay.
May 23, 2012: House Bill No. 5808 was transmitted to and received by the Senate.
May 30, 2012: Date requested and agreed to form a conference committee. House of
Representatives requested that the conference committee be convened.
June 4, 2012: House agreed on Conference Committee Report.
June 5, 2012: Senate agreed on Conference Committee Report.
Aug. 15, 2012: The bill was transmitted to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.
Sept. 12, 2012: The bill was signed into law by the President.
Republic Act 10715, or also known as the Cybercrime prevention act of 2012 was signed into law
by incumbent Philippine president, Benigno C. Aquino on September 12, 2012. Prior to 2012, no
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laws exist specifically criminalizes computer crime. Although certain laws exist such as Republic Act
No. 8792 known as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, it merely regulated certain computer
related activities, however these existing laws does not account for the criminalizing of the crimes
that have been done over a computer .
b. Why should there be a cybercrime law (2 page)
All over the Philippines, there are millions of people using the internet every day. The internet has
become such an integral part of all the peoples lives that almost everyone in the country is a part
of the netizen community. With the internet, everyone is able to connect with all their friends and
family all over the world; people are also able to do their work and play all sorts of games online.
But over the past few years, the amount of crimes being done over the internet has been steadily
increasing.
The crimes committed over the internet have been so frequent and numerous recently that the
government saw it fit to take action to be able to protect the people online. In finding a solution
as to how to decrease cybercrime in the Philippines, the government came up with the Cybercrime
Bill. It is because of all the types of crime being done over the internet that the government decided
to create a bill such as that. Crimes like plagiarism, child pornography, identity theft, and many
more have been rampant over the net that the government saw the need to draft the Cybercrime
Bill to help lessen all these crimes 4.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is the first law in the Philippines which specifically
criminalizes computer crime, which prior to the passage of the law had no strong legal precedent
in Philippine jurisprudence. While laws such as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (Republic Act
No. 8792 regulated certain computer-related activities, these laws did not provide a legal basis for
criminalizing crimes committed on a computer in general: for example, Onel de Guzman, the
computer programmer charged with purportedly writing the ILOVEYOU computer worm, was
ultimately not prosecuted by Philippine authorities due to a lack of legal basis for him to be charged
under existing Philippine laws at the time of his arrest.
c. How it has been passed, who voted for it, who didnt vote for it? (1 page)
The initial draft of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 started in 2002 from the former
Information Technology and eCommerce Council (ITECC) Legal and Regulatory Committee chaired
by Atty. Claro Parlade and its Information Security and Privacy subcommittee co-chaired by Albert
Dela Cruz of PHCERT and Atty. Elfren Meneses of the NBI. ITECC was established under the
presidency of Joseph Estrada, and continued during the term of President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo. It was headed by Secretary Virgilio 'Ver' Pea, the first Chair of the former Commission on
Communications and Information Technology (CICT), and was an attempt to harmonize the U.S.
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the EU Cybercrime Prevention Treaty or Budapest Convention on
Cybercrime, Pending House and Senate bills. It was originally known as proposed bill HB377.

Sarmiento, D. (2012). Reasons why the cybercrime bill was drafted, POLISCI, Online Cybercrime Law Informational
Website. (available at: https://sites.google.com/site/cybercrimelaw101/archives/reasons)

This was superseded by several cybercrime-related bills filed in the 14th and 15th Congress. The
Cybercrime Prevention Act ultimately was the product of House Bill No. 5808, authored by
Representative Susan Yap-Sulit of the second district of Tarlac and 36 other co-authors, and Senate
Bill No. 2796, proposed by Senator Edgardo Angara. Both bills were passed by their respective
chambers within one day of each other on June 5 and 4, 2012, respectively, shortly after the
impeachment of Renato Corona, and the final version of the Act was signed into law by President
Benigno Aquino III on September 12.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is authored by Reps. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac), Eric
Owen Singson, Jr. (2nd District, Ilocos Sur), Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City) and Juan
Edgardo Angara (Lone District, Aurora). Other authors of the bill are Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
(2nd District, Pampanga), Diosdado Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur), Carmelo Lazatin (1st
District, Pampanga), Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), Maximo Rodriguez, Jr.
(Party-list, Abante Mindanao), Mariano Michael Velarde and Irwin Tieng (Party-list, BUHAY),
Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City), Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Party-list, Bagong Henerasyon),
Anthony Rolando Golez (Lone District, Bacolod City), Juan Miguel Macapagal-Arroyo (Party-list, Ang
Galing Pinoy), Ma. Amelita Calimbas-Villarosa (Lone District, Occidental Mindoro), Antonio Del
Rosario (1st District, Capiz), Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), Eulogio Magsaysay (Partylist, AVE), Sigfrido Tinga (2nd District, Taguig City), Roilo Golez (2nd District, Paraaque City),
Romero Federico Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City), Mel Senen Sarmiento (1st District, Western
Samar), Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), Daryl Grace Abayon (Party-list, Aangat
Tayo), Tomas Apacible (1st District, Batangas), Jerry Treas (Lone District, Iloilo City), Joseph Gilbert
Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija), Hermilando Mandanas (2nd District, Batangas), Ma. Rachel
Arenas (3rd District, Pangasinan) and Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan).
For the record, the following senators voted to pass the law:
1) Sen. Tito Sotto
2) Sen. Bong Revilla
3) Sen. Manny Villar
4) Sen. Lito Lapid
5) Sen. Koko Pimentel
6) Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
7) Sen. Loren Legarda
8) Sen. Chiz Escudero
9) Sen. Ping Lacson
10) Sen. Gringo Honasan
11) Sen. Pia Cayetano
12) Sen. Bongbong Marcos
13) Sen. Ralph Recto
d. The provisions (2 pages)
The Republic Act No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, is an act that
defines and punishes cybercrime to prevent and suppress its proliferation. It aims to effectively
prevent and combat misuse, abuse and illegal access of the Internet by facilitating their detection,
investigation, arrest and prosecution at both the domestic and international levels, and by providing
arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation. To formulate and implement a
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national cyber security plan, a Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) will be
created under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President.
The Act, divided into 31 sections split across eight chapters, criminalizes several types of offense,
including illegal access (hacking), data interference, device misuse, cybersquatting, computerrelated offenses such as computer fraud, content-related offenses such as cybersex and spam, and
other offenses. The law also reaffirms existing laws against child pornography, an offense under
Republic Act No. 9779 (the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009), and libel, an offense under Section
355 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, also criminalizing them when committed using a
computer system. Finally, the Act includes a "catch-all" clause, making all offenses currently
punishable under the Revised Penal Code also punishable under the Act when committed using a
computer, with severer penalties than provided by the Revised Penal Code alone.
The Act has universal jurisdiction: its provisions apply to all Filipino nationals regardless of the place
of commission. Jurisdiction also lies when a punishable act is either committed within the
Philippines, whether the erring device is wholly or partly situated in the Philippines, or whether
damage was done to any natural or juridical person who at the time of commission was within the
Philippines. Regional Trial Courts shall have jurisdiction over cases involving violations of the Act.
Section 23 of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 provides for the
creation of an Office of Cybercrime (OOC) within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and is designated
as the central authority in all matters related to international mutual assistance and extradition for
cybercrime matters. It also mandates the establishment of special "cybercrime courts" which will
handle cases involving cybercrime offenses (offenses enumerated in Section 4(a) of the Act).
The Supreme Court of the Philippines declared on February 18, 2014 that the libel provisions of the
Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is constituional.
Punishable acts
Offenses punishable under Cybercrime Prevention Act are:
- Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems
- Illegal access to the whole or any part of a computer system without rights
- Illegal interception of any non-public transmission of computer data to, from, or within a
computer system
- Data interference such as alteration, damaging, deletion or deterioration of data without
rights, including the introduction or transmission of viruses
- System (computer or computer network) interference
- Cyber-squatting or the acquisition of a domain name over the Internet in bad faith to profit,
mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same
- Misuse of devices
Computer-related offenses:
- Computer-related forgery (input, alteration, or deletion of data) without rights resulting in
inauthentic data, with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as
if it were authentic
- Computer-related fraud (input, alteration, or deletion of data or interference in the
functioning of a computer system) causing damage
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Computer-related identity theft or the acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession,


alteration or deletion of the identifying information of another person

Content-related offenses:
- Cybersex or the engagement, maintenance, control, or operation of any lascivious
exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system
- Child pornography or the unlawful acts as defined and punishable by Republic Act No. 9775
or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 committed through a computer system
- Unsolicited commercial communications which seek to advertise, sell, or offer for sale
products and services
- Libel or unlawful acts as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code
Others:
- Aiding or abetting in the commission of cybercrime
- Attempt in the commission of cybercrime
Penalties
Any person found guilty of committing cybercrime acts enumerated in the first two groups shall be
punished with prision mayor, or serving of six years and one day to twelve12 years in prison, or a
fine of at least PHP 200,000 up to PHP 500,000.
A person found guilty of committing punishable acts enumerated in the first group shall be punished
with reclusion temporal, or serving of 12 years and one day to 20 years in prison, or a fine of at least
PHP 500,000 up to the maximum amount in proportion to the damage incurred, or both.
A person found guilty of committing cybersex shall be punished with prision mayor, or serving of six
years and one day to 12 years in prison, or a fine of at least PHP 200,000 but not exceeding PHP
1,000,000, or both.
A person found guilty of committing child pornography shall be punished with the penalties
enumerated in the Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.
A person found guilty of committing unsolicited commercial communications shall be punished with
arresto mayor, or serving of one month and one day to six months, or a fine of at least PHP 50,000
but not exceeding PHP 250,000, or both.
A person found guilty of committing other offenses enumerated in the last group shall be punished
with imprisonment one degree lower than that of the prescribed penalty for the offense, or a fine
of at least PHP 100,000 but not exceeding PHP 500,000, or both.
Corporate liability
If any of these offenses are knowingly committed by a natural person on behalf of or for the benefit
of a juridical person, the latter shall be held liable for fines enumerated above up to a maximum of
PHP 10,000,000.

If, for the benefit of the juridical person, the offense was made possible because of a natural
person's failure to supervise or control, the former shall be held liable for fines enumerated above
up to a maximum of PHP 5,000,000.
Enforcement and implementation
Law enforcement authorities, such as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine
National Police (PNP) shall be responsible for the implementation of the provisions of this Act.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) shall be responsible for assisting in investigations or proceedings
concerning criminal offenses related to computer systems or data, in collection of electronic
evidence of criminal offense, and in ensuring that the provisions of the law are complied with.
e. Its connection to the Budapest Convention (1 page)
In the realm of international cooperation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) officially endorsed the
Philippines accession to the Council of Europes Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the
Budapest Convention. The treaty became the vehicle to harmonize cybercrime definitions and
promoted international cooperation in cybercrime enforcement and investigation. After all, the
Budapest Convention was signed by many countries in Europe and even counted non-EU countries
such as the United States, Canada, Japan, China and South Africa as among its member-states. It
was against this backdrop that various cybercrime bills were deliberated upon, in both houses of
the Philippine Congress.
The Philippines was invited to accede to the Budapest Convention on 15 June 2011 without
objection from member countries and annually invited to join the Octopus Conferences. The
Philippines substantially adopted the international definition of cybercrimes by the Council of
Europe and assisted the decision-maker to uphold the same by enacting a cybercrime law.
On 12 September 2012, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10175 or
Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 which completely addresses crimes committed against and by
means of computer system. The law focuses on the pre-emption, prevention and prosecution of
cybercrimes such as offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data
and systems, computer-related offenses, and content-related offenses.
The law provides procedural measures to be undertaken by law enforcement authorities mandated
by the law to enforce and implement its provisions. To ensure that the technical nature of
cybercrime and its prevention is given focus and the procedures involved for international
cooperation considered, law enforcement authorities specifically the computer or technology crime
divisions responsible for the investigation of cybercrimes are required to submit timely and regular
reports including pre-operation, post-operation and investigation results and such other
documents as may be required to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for review and monitoring. 5

5
Department of Justice, Office of Cybercrime (2015). Philippines 2014-2015 Cybercrime Report, The Rule of Law in
Cyberspace, March 15. DOJ: Manila (available at https://www.doj.gov.ph/files/cybercrime_office/20142015_Annual_Cybercrime_Report.pdf)

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Salient features
The salient features of the Act include internationally consistent definitions for certain cybercrimes,
nuanced liability for perpetrators of cybercrimes, increased penalties, greater authority granted to
law enforcement authorities, expansive jurisdictional authority to prosecute cybercrimes,
provisions for international cybercrime coordination efforts and greater ability to combat
cybercrimes.
Indeed, many of the cybercrimes defined under the Act hewed closely to the Budapest Convention
and it borrowed heavily from the conventions definition of illegal access and interception, data and
system interference, misuse of devices, computer-related forgery and computer-related fraud 6.
f.

Profiles of supporters (1-2 page)


The local business process outsourcing industry has received the new law well, citing an increase in
the confidence of investors due to measures for the protection of electronic devices and online
data 7

2. The #notocybercrimelaw #StopCyberMartialLaw struggle (25 pages maximum)


a. Why people protested against it (5-7 pages)
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 received mixed reactions from several sectors upon its
enactment, particularly with how its provisions could potentially affect freedom of expression,
freedom of speech and data security in the Philippines.
Immediately after it was passed on 12 September 2012, the Philippines Cybercrime Prevention
Act was met with a flurry of legal challenges from journalists and civil society organisations in the
country. An analysis by the Centre for Law and Democracy confirms and supports their concerns,
finding that the law perpetrates significant violations of international standards on freedom of
expression.
Some of the more serious problems cited in the analysis are that the Cybercrime Prevention Act:
- extends existing criminal rules, including the countrys already problematic criminal
defamation laws, to the Internet with no consideration of the specific implications of this, in
most cases imposes even harsher penalties;
- grants law enforcement sweeping surveillance powers and requires the Department of Justice
to block websites in cases of prima facie breach of the Act;
- grants Philippine authorities vast jurisdiction to police the Internet;
- criminalises mere recklessness and cybersquatting; and
- imposes very extensive data retention requirements on service providers 8.
6
Disini, J.J. (2012). Cybercrime Act: Features and issues, Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 6. (available at:
http://opinion.inquirer.net/38218/cybercrime-act-features-and-issues)
7
Agcaoili, L. (2012). "IT-BPO industry welcomes passage of Cybercrime Prevention Act". The Philippine Star, September 20.
(available at http://www.philstar.com/cybercrime-law/2012/9/20/850809/it-bpo-industry-welcomes-passage-of-cybercrimeprevention-act)
8
Centre for Law and Democracy (2012). Philippines: Analysis finds major problems in cybercrime law, November 22.
(available at http://www.law-democracy.org/live/philippines-analysis-finds-major-problems-in-cybercrime-law/)

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Critics of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 had particularly called for the scrapping of
internet libel as it tramples on the basic freedom of speech. Kabataan party-list said that the entire
law should have been declared unconstitutional. Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon
said in a report that they wanted to start from scratch to deliberate on a new cybercrime law
without the unconstitutional provisions.
b. Who protested against it (1-2 pages)
Media organizations and legal institutions though have criticized the Act for extending the
definition of libel as defined in the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, which has been criticized
by international organizations as being outdated:[10] the United Nations for one has remarked
that the current definition of libel as defined in the Revised Penal Code is inconsistent with the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and therefore violates the respect of freedom
of expression 9.
There were other several local organizations, who joined the global call for the end to arbitrary
and mass surveillance and collection of personal data, and support the struggle to repeal Republic
Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012:
- Foundation for Media Alternatives
- Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
- Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance
- Womens Legal and Human Rights Bureau
- Dakila Artist Collective
- Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
- Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas
- LGBTS Christian Church
- Association of Transgender People in the Philippines (ATP)
- Human Rights Online Philippines
- Youth for Rights
- Piglas Kabataan
- KAISA Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan
- UP Internet Freedom Association
- Sanlakas
- Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
- Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
c.

What happened/What were the forms of protests (2-4 pages)

d. FMA getting in the forefront of the struggle (2-3 pages)


e. The Birth of the Internet Freedom movement in the Philippines PIFA (2-3 pages)

Tiongson, F.L. (2012). "Libel law violates freedom of expression UN rights panel", The Manila Times, January 30.
(available at.http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top-stories/16100-libel-law-violates-freedom-ofexpression--un-rights-panel)

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3. Cyber Martial Law TROd (15 pages max)


a. Protesters reactions to the indefinite temporary restraining order (1 page)
Fifteen petitions were filed against the law in 2012, hence forcing the Supreme Court of the
Philippines to issue a 120-day Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the day of its
implementation. On February 5, 2013, the Supreme Court extended the TRO until further notice.
Arguing that the anti-cybercrime legislation will curtail freedom of expression and is equivalent
to Cyber Martial Law, critics have stepped up both online and offline actions for the junking of
the law. Hackers also vandalized several government websites as a sign of protest against the
Cybercrime Law. Protesters say that the Cybercrime Prevention Act significantly raises the penalty
for libel committed online and provides the government overwhelming and unchecked powers to
clamp down government critics and conduct online surveillance, as in the case of a 62-year old
mining activist who was arrested for a libelous Facebook post last November 2012.
Online and Offline Protests
Various groups, including journalists, bloggers, lawyers and activists have cited violations of
privacy and the freedom of expression among others. Members of the #NotoCyberCrimeLaw
coalition held a meeting at the College of Education, University of the Philippines in Diliman on
January 10, 2013 and vowed to hold various forms of protest, both online and offline until the
high court agrees to junk the law. Most of the conveners of the coalition are petitioners to the
case.
Anthony Ian Cruz of the Bloggers and Netizens for Democracy also declared a Black Friday
campaign in 2013 that encouraged Facebook and Twitter users to turn their profile pictures to
black. Cruz deemed that the TRO issued by the SC in October was a victory of the Filipino people
and called on netizens to unite once again to exert pressure on the Supreme Court.
Youth leaders from Kabataan party list, Anakbayan and College Editors Guild of the Philippines
(CEGP) also held a protest vigil on January 14, 2013. In an interview with bulatlat.com, National
Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera said Filipinos must unite to assert our right to privacy. 10
Lumbera said the proponents of the law must get a clear indication that Filipinos are opposed to
the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Lumbera further called on fellow artists to fight for freedom of expression, adding that the
Internet is one of the venues through which artists and writers get wider audience. He encouraged
artists to be more creative in portraying the peoples opposition to Cybercrime Law.
b. The move to repeal Cyber Martial Law in the Congress (2-3 pages)
These are some of the bills 11 that were are filed before the 16th Congress asking to repeal or
amend the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012:
10

IBON International (2013). The Philippine Cybercrime Law and its Impact on Human Rights, Education for Development
Magazine, vol 12, no. 2-3: 18-20, 27, March - June, Quezon City: IBON International. (available at:
http://iboninternational.org/sites/ibon/files/resources/EDM_2013_March-June.pdf)
11
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (2013). Update: The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, September 12.
(available at http://www.cmfr-phil.org/2013/09/12/update-the-cybercrime-prevention-act-of-2012/)

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Senate Bill No. 126, "An Act Repealing Section 4(c) (4), Chapter II of Republic Act No. 10175 filed
by Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, repeals Section 4(c) (4), Chapter II of Republic Act No. 10175
which criminalizes libel "committed through a computer system or any other similar means which
may be devised in the future."
Senate Bill No. 11, "An Act Amending Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 Otherwise Known as an Act
Defining Cybercrime, Providing For the Prevention, Investigation and Imposition of Penalties
Therefore and For Other Purposes" filed by Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, seeks to amend
Section 6 of RA No. 10175 and remove the imposition of higher penalty on those charged of the
crime.
It states that "Imposing a higher penalty on crimes defined under the Revised Penal Code and
specials laws committed through the internet is not in accordance with the principle of justice and
equality, and sound public policy. If a crime is committed by, through and with the use of
information and communications technologies, then the penalties provided under the present
laws should be imposed accordingly and should not be increased solely on the ground that the
crime was perpetrated through the use of the cyberspace."
Senate Bill No. 154, "An Act Amending Republic Act No. 10175, Otherwise Known as the
Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, filed by Sen Pia Cayetano, repeals Sections 4(c) (4), 6, 7, 12,
and 19 of RA 10175.
It also seeks to protect freedom of speech and expression and annuls the imposition of heavier
penalty for libel committed "by, through, and with the use of information and communication
technologies."
Senale Bill No. 249, "An Act Repealing Sections 4 (c) (4), 5, 6, and 7 of RA 10175, Otherwise Known
as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, filed by Sen Alan Peter Cayetano, repeals Section 4 (c)
(4) saying that: (1) "The application of RA 10175 is unconstitutionally overbroad affecting
publications previously made but still present in cyberspace." (2) "It is vague in its application and
expansive because it covers past speech before the law takes effect." (3) "It potentially infringes
on a person's freedom of speech under Section 4 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution. It is in
effect, a form of subsequent punishment."
It also states that Section 6 of RA 10175 or the distinction on the offense committed is
"unconstitutional" and "not substantial enough."
Senate Bill Nos. 53 and 1091 and House Bill No. 1086 or the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet
Freedom are filed by Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, and
Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, respectively, repeals the law in its entirety.
Section 4 of the bill protects and promotes freedom of speech and expression on the Internet and
protects the right of the people to petition the government via the Internet for redress of
grievances.

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Section 52 defines provisions and exceptions on Internet libel. The bill states that expressions of
protest against and dissatisfaction with the government shall not constitute Internet libel.
It also treats libel as a civil liability, rather than a criminal act.
House Bill No. 1132, "An Act Repealing Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act
of 2012 filed by Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon, repeals the RA 10175 and states that
"Cybercrime Law seeks to silence opposition - both in the real world and online."
c.

The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (3-5 pages)


A milestone in Philippine legislative history involved the crafting of a Magna Carta for Philippine
Internet Freedom or otherwise known as the Internet Freedom (MCPIF) draft bill through
crowdsourcing. This is proposed by netizens as an alternative to the Anti-Cybercrime Law.
In July 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously approved a resolution that
added Internet access and online freedom of expression to the list of basic human rights. The
resolution says that all people should be allowed to connect to and express themselves freely on
the Internet. All 47 members of the Human Rights Council, including notoriously censorship-prone
countries such as China and Cuba, signed the resolution 12.
The right to Internet access, also known as the right to broadband, is the view that all people must
be able to access the Internet in order to exercise and enjoy their rights to Freedom of expression
and opinion and other fundamental human rights, that states have a responsibility to ensure that
Internet access is broadly available, and that states may not unreasonably restrict an individual's
access to the Internet. Internet access is recognized as a right by the laws of several countries 13.
The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF), a crowdsourced document, was filed
as House Bill No. 1086 by Rep. Kimi Cojuangco and as Senate Bill Nos. 53 and 1091 by Senators
Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, respectively. If passed, the MCPIF
would repeal Republic Act No. 10175 (the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012). The MCPIF would
also guarantee a host of other freedoms; here is a guide to some of the key elements of the bill 14:
Free Expression
Section 4 of the bill pertains to freedom of expression, [protecting] and [promoting] freedom of
speech and expression on the Internet and protecting the right of the people to petition the
government via the Internet for redress of grievances. The right of citizens to publish to the
Internet without the requirement of a license is also specifically addressed.

12

Fitzpatrick A. (2012). Internet Access Is a Human Right, Says United Nations, Mashable.com, July 6 (available at
http://mashable.com/2012/07/06/internet-human-right/)
13
Lucchi, N (2011). "Access to Network Services and Protection of Constitutional Rights: Recognizing the Essential Role of
Internet Access for the Freedom of Expression", Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law (JICL), Vol. 19, No. 3,
2011. (available at http://www.cjicl.com/uploads/2/9/5/9/2959791/cjicl_19.3_lucchi_article.pdf)
14

York, J. (2013). A Brief Analysis of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Electronic Frontier Foundation, July
8. (available at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/07/brief-analysis-magna-carta-philippine-internet-freedom)

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Section 4(c) limits State use of prior restraint or subsequent punishment in relation to Internetrelated rights only upon a judicial order conforming with provisions laid out in Section 5, and only
under certain circumstances. Section 4(d) protects persons from being forced to remove content
beyond their means or control, specifically addressing mirrored and archived content.
Although free expression is protected, Section 52 places limits on certain types of speech inimical
to the public interest:
Internet libel: defined as public and malicious expression tending to cause the dishonor,
discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is
dead, made on the Internet or on public networks;
Hate speech: defined as public and malicious expression calling for the commission of illegal acts
on an entire class of persons, a reasonably broad section thereof, or a person belonging to such a
class, based on gender, sexual orientation, religious belief or affiliation, political belief or
affiliation, ethnic or regional affiliation, citizenship, or nationality, made on the Internet or on
public networks and;
Child pornography
Atypically, the definition of Internet hate speech is incredibly limited, with the Act stating that it
shall not lie if the expression does not call for the commission of illegal acts on the person or
class of persons that, when they are done, shall cause actual criminal harm to the person or class
of persons, under existing law and if it does not call for the commission of illegal acts posing an
immediate lawless danger to the public or to the person who is the object of the expression.
Universal access
While Section 5 explicitly promotes universal access to the Internet, Section 5(b) allows for the
suspension of an individuals Internet access as an accessory to other penalties upon conviction
of certain crimes, with certain checks and balances.
Remarkably, Section 5(e) prevents persons or entities offering Internet access for free or for a fee
(including hotels, schools, and religious groups) from restricting access to the Internet or limiting
content that may be accessed by guests, employees or others without a reasonable ground
related to the protection of the person or entity from actual or legal threats, the privacy of others
who may be accessing the network, or the privacy and security of the network as provided for in
the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA 10173) or this Act.
Innovation
Section 7 addresses the right to innovation, allowing for State protection and promotion of
innovation, and prohibiting persons from restricting or denying the right to develop new
information and communications technologies, without due process of law...
With certain exceptions provided for in the Intellectual Property Code, Section 7(b) states that
no person shall be denied access to new information and communications technologies, nor shall
any new information and communications technologies be blocked, censored, suppressed, or
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otherwise restricted, without due process of law or authority vested by law. Innovators are also
protected from liability for the actions of users.
Right to Privacy
Section 8 provides for State promotion of the protection of the privacy of data, with Section 8(b)
providing the right of users to employ encryption or cryptography protect the privacy of the data
or networks which such person owns or otherwise possesses real rights over.
Section 8(d) guarantees a persons right of privacy over his or her data or network rights, while
8(e) requires the State to maintain appropriate level of privacy of the data and of the networks
maintained by it.
Section 9 refers to the protection of the security of data and 9(b) guarantees the right of persons
to employ means whether physical, electronic or behavioral to protect the security of his or her
data or networks.
Sections 9(c) and (d) refer to the rights of third parties over private data, requiring a court order
issued in accordance with Section 5 of the Act to grant access, and preventing third parties from
being given property rights to the data accessed.
Intellectual property
Section 10 protects intellectual property online in accordance with the existing Intellectual
Property Code of the Philippines (RA 8293). 10(c) prevents Internet service providers and
telecommunications entities from gaining intellectual property rights over derivative content that
is the result of creation, invention, innovation, or modification by a person using the service
provided by the Internet service provider, telecommunications entity, or such person providing
Internet or data services.
Section 39 addresses fair use, declaring that the viewing, use, editing, decompiling, or
modification, of downloaded or otherwise offline content on any computer, device, or equipment
shall be considered fair use with certain provisions.
Section 48 deals with intellectual property infringement, with 48(a)(ii) notably defining the nonattribution or plagiarism of copyleft content as defined in section 38 as infringement.
Other Areas
In addition to the sections detailed above, the Act covers a range of other issue areas, including
hacking, cyber crime, and human trafficking. The Act also creates an Office of Cybercrime within
the Department of Justice to be designated as the central authority in enforcement of the Act.
Notably, special courts in which judges are required to have specific expertise in computer science
or IT are also designated to hear and resolve all cases brought under the Act.
Overall, the crowdsourced Act is a success story and we support our allies in the Phillippines as
they work to push it forward in the Senate.
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d. Sustaining the fight against Cybercrime; keeping the conversation going to promote Internet
Freedom (2-3 pages)
In this age of the internet, the rights and freedoms that peoples struggles have long won are
again facing imminent threats of repression and denial. Government policies and actions of
indiscriminate and arbitrary collection of personal data interfere with and violate the freedoms
of expression and of association, and of access to and exchange of information and ideas, freedom
and rights that are enshrined in international human rights laws and standards, particularly the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and that are essential to the
preservation and perpetuation of democracy. Mass surveillance does not have a place in a free
and democratic society.
Filipinos should join peoples from all over the globe in calling upon all governments to uphold the
right of all individuals to use information and communications technologies such as the Internet
without fear of unwarranted interference.
To this end, we Filipinos should commit to the continuing struggle for the advancement of
fundamental human rights, and support the calls of the movement for internet freedom in the
Philippines for:
- Repeal of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012;
- Public Participation in crafting policies that seek to govern or regulate the internet, in order
to safeguard internet freedom; and,
- Recognition and respect of the private sector of human rights.
4.

SC ruling partial unconstitutionality of the Cybercrime Law (8 pages max)


a. SC decision explained (3-5 pages)
On 18 February 2014, the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines upheld the constitutionality of
almost all provisions of the Cybercrime law, including the provision that penalizes online libel. The
high court clarified that original authors of potentially libelous posts can be sued, not those who
received, reposted, or who reacted to it.
SC also declared constitutional the criminalization of the aiding and abetting of the commission
of cybercrime. Provisions which were struck down as unconstitutional were the provision that
empowers DOJ to restrict or block access to websites and online profiles that are deemed violating
the law; provisions on unsolicited commercial communications and real-time collection of traffic
data; and the liability of a cyber criminal under other laws but only in the cases of online libel and
child pornography, citing a person's guarantee against double jeopardy. Libel is punishable by
Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, while child pornography is punishable by Republic Act 9775
or the Anti-Child Pornography Act.
According to Supreme Court Chief Public Information Officer Theodore Te, the Court declared
unconstitutional the RA 10175 provisions on unsolicited commercial communications (Section
4c3), real-time collection of traffic data (Section 12), and blocking access to computer sites found
in violation of the Act (Section 19). It also declared the section on aiding and abetting, and
attempting to commit cybercrimes (Section 5), and the section on liability under other laws
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(Section 7) unconstitutional with respect to certain crimes defined in Section 4 of the law, notably
with respect to libel and child pornography because other laws already penalize these crimes.
The Court upheld the constitutionality of the provision on libel (Section4c4) when applied to the
original author of the material in question. Although the Court made it clear that the provision
would not apply to anyone who comments on material that may later be deemed libelous, the
original author would still be liable to imprisonment of as much as, say some lawyers, to twelve
years.
b. Reactions (1-3 pages)
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 adopts the Revised Penal Code (RPC) provisions on libel,
but raises the penalties by one degree, from a minimum of six months' imprisonment in the RPC
per count of libel to a minimum of six years. The Court decision not only legitimizes the higher
penalties for online libel; by implication it also declares the original libel law constitutional 15.
The libel provisions of the RPC have been problematic for free expression and press freedom since
1932, when the RPC was implemented, primarily because of the penalty of imprisonment, which
has been used in many instances to silence journalists. The libel law has also been declared
excessive by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which in 2011 asked the Philippine
government to review the law towards eliminating the penalty of imprisonment 16. In 2012, in
what looked like a government response to the demand for the decriminalization of libel, the
Cybercrime Prevention Act instead made the libel provisions of the RPC part of the sanctions
against online libel and in addition raised the penalties.
The Supreme Court decision is in short a partial victory for free expression. Libel as provided for
in the RPC thus remains today as problematic as it has been for over 80 years to press freedom
and free expression, and in addition has become an even bigger constraint on free expression
when committed online.
5. Where is the Cybercrime Law now?
a. Status
Republic Act 10175 was signed into law last September 12, 2012. This law is already in effect as
the Supreme Court uphold its constitutionality on February 18, 2014.
The February 18, 2014 ruling of the Supreme Court declaring key provisions of the Cybercrime
Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175) unconstitutional is a victory for free expression. But its
declaring the provision on libel committed through the Internet constitutional retains one of the
most problematic provisions of the Act.

15

Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (2014). Supreme Court declares Cybercrime Law unconstitutional, February
20. (available at https://www.ifex.org/philippines/2014/02/20/libel_clause/)
16
Pinlac, N.Y. (2012).,Decriminalizing libel: UN declares PH libel law excessive , Center for Media Freedom and
Responsibility, February 17. )available at http://www.cmfr-phil.org/2012/02/17/decriminalizing-libel-un-declares-ph-libel-lawexcessive/)

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