Tag Archives: libel

Decriminalizing Philippine Libel Laws?

I made reference to the move to decriminalize Philippine libel laws in “¿Para qué estáis en el gobierno?” and Republic Act 10175: Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. I use this opportunity to articulate my thoughts on the matter more extensively.

I. Current Libel Provisions
    A. Libel Provisions under Revised Penal Code (Act 3815)
    B. Libel Provision under the Cybercrime Prevention Law (Republic Act 10175)
II. The Legislative Proposal (House Bill 6391 and Senate Bill 3244)
III. Decriminalization of libel
    A. “Crime”
    B. Effect of decriminalization of libel
IV. Should we decriminalize libel completely?
    A. Agreement with the move to remove imprisonment as penalty
    B. Fine as a deterrent
    C. Absudity of decriminalizing libel but maintaining criminalization of slander
V. Other matters under HB 6391 and SB 3244

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“¿Para qué estáis en el gobierno?”

An interesting article from the Philippine Inquirer came out yesterday. [1] This appears to be resulting from the online backlash against Senator Sotto over his purported role in the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, especially as to the Senate insertion of the Section 4(c)(4) pertaining to Internet libel. [2]

If the newspaper’s quotes are to be taken to be accurate, Senator Sotto allegedly said [3]:

“Gusto nila magpa-file naman ako ng bill, alisin na natin ang libel para pwede ko na rin silang murahin (If they want, I will file a bill to remove libel so I can also engage them in mudslinging),” Sotto said in an interview over radio on Wednesday.

“Pwede, alisin natin para parehas na ang laban. Maganda yan, pag-aaralan ko yan hanggang Lunes (We can remove that to have a fair play. That’s a good idea. I will study that until Monday),” he said.

“Alisin na natin ang gag sa masama broadcast, sa radyo, sa TV. Kung malaya sa Internet, pwede silang mambastos, mambaboy…gawin na din natin sa media. Kailangan pare-parehas,” Sotto added.

Asked if he was serious about his proposal, the senator said, “Oo, tinatabla lang natin sila sa inyo (Yes, we’re just levelling the playing field.)”

“Hindi na decriminalizing, removing. Magda-draft ako in the next few days (We will no longer decriminalize libel, we will remove it altogether. I will make a draft in the next few days),” he said.

It would be somehow expected that reactions to these statement would be to the effect that such statements would be adolescent, and not one expected from a legislator. I leave that sentiment to others, as my attention is elsewhere.

I. What can we say and how we go about it?
II. For whose interest are legislations made?

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