Just My Two Cents: The Basics of the ‘Rehashed’ Cybercrime Law

March 6, 2014 (2 years ago)
Posted in Blog: Tagalog | Categories: Erotic | Tags:

Many had waited with bated breath as to the decision of the Supreme Court on RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
The main issues stemming from the 15 consolidated petitions include the online libel and its siblings, the reaction, repost and retweet. In its decision, the Supreme Court declared Sec 4(c)(4) as not unconstitutional (pardon the double negation) “with respect to the original author of the post but unconstitutional only where it penalizes those who simply receive the post or react to it.”

This means any libelous material that has been passed on, received and forwarded would not be considered as a criminal act, contrary to the original provisions in the said law.

As Inang.Grasya requested, how does this affect FSS users?

Unfortunately, there is still an issue regarding libel. The original libel provisions were included in the law submitted for review to the Supreme Court. Now with this decision, online libel is in effect, as it was declared as not unconstitutional. Recently though, the DOJ is recommending the removal of these online libel provisions in the rehashed Cybercrime law, as they finally realized it was a duplication of the libel provisions in the Revised Penal Code.

Just so everyone understands what libel is, the criminal act is defined, according to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, ‘as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or a defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.”

In order to prove libel, the following must be proven as its elements according to the case of Daez v CA,

  1. Imputation of a discreditable acts or condition of another;
  2. Publication of the imputation;
  3. Identity of the person defamed;
  4. Existence of malice
All these need to be present and proven beyond a reasonable doubt to convict an individual of libel in the Philippines. There are a number of cases which define each element and the standards to be met for its proper application. I would need a whole semester to discuss this matter.

In the case of FSS, the imputation made regardless of its truth or falsity, is sufficiently done when any individual types a statement into the chatbox a statement aimed at a person within the room. When one presses ‘submit’ in the chatbox, the said statement is published and with each individual having a unique handle on the site, the element of identifiability is established.

Thus the first three elements are present.
Now, the question of malice needs to be addressed. The Revised Penal Code provides for it, under Article 354, which reads:
“Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases:

a) A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal moral or social duty; and

b) A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officer in the exercise of their functions.”

Thus, for FSS people, your statements against any other person on the chatbox may be used as proof of the commission of libel. The name online libel merely expanded the coverage of the existing libel law to include online communications.

It is not what the poster means which is given credence, but what the words used by poster means in relation to its recipient. Thus libel is determined by the recipient not the giver of the statement.

Now, the arduous part of this would be proving the elements of the offense. It would entail having to ask the site owners to provide access to all the posts and discussions on the site. It would also ask for the registration data of the individual’s handle on the site.

There would also be a need to look into the IP address of the individual offender, in order to find out their location. Then it would be filing a complaint and go through the necessary processes of a criminal prosecution before reaching a court with jurisdiction over the matter. A full blown trial would be undertaken, unless a plea bargain is reached. It would be to say the least an action that would turn anyone’s wor... Read More

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