As Cybercrime Law fate hangs, Angara seeks changes in problematic provisions

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On the same day that the Supreme Court (SC) heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of RA 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, its main author held a press conference to push for the removal and changes in key provisions of the controversial law.

Sen. Edgardo Angara said he favors amendments to the Cybercrime Law rather than to scrap the legislation altogether.

?I am still optimistic? that the SC would uphold the measure as a whole provided that we change the problematic provisions,? said Angara. ?I am confident that they will see that this law is truly necessary to protect the millions of legitimate Internet users in our country.”

Angara said he had already filed an amendatory bill late last year, although he said would wait for the decision of the courts before setting a public hearing in the Senate to discuss the proposed changes.

Senate Bill 3315, which was filed in October last year, repeals the higher penalties for online crime, puts in the requirement of a court order for the takedown of suspected websites, and strengthens the exclusionary rule providing that seizure of evidence should adhere strictly to lawful procedures.

Angara said the opposition to the law is to be expected when dealing with new, landmark pieces of legislation.

“Cyberspace, and the Internet in general is an entirely new field especially in law. This is unplowed ground for all of us legislators. Any attempt at examining the regulations written in the law is welcome because it expands knowledge and awareness in people,” he said.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, however, branded the law as ?cyber-dracula? during the oral arguments, saying the ?law? nurtures values from a Draconian past [and is] thoroughly inconsistent with the demands of modern times?.

?As cyber-Dracula lies helpless in its sleep, we plead for the final decisive action to banish our anger, anxiety, and fears altogether,? Guingona told magistrates in an en banc assembly.

?The Cybercrime Prevention Act is a law that threatens and assaults our fundamental Constitutional right to speak, our right against unreasonable searches and seizures, our right against double jeopardy, and our right to be accorded equal protection of the laws,? he said.

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