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By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Human rights lawyer Harry Roque and columnist Ellen Tordesillas on Friday led the filing at the Supreme Court of the fifth petition against the controversial Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Roque, Tordesillas, Ma. Gisel Ordones-Cascola of the investigative outfit VERA files, lawyer and blogger Romel Bagares, radio broadcaster Alexander Adonis and lawyer Gilber Andres, legal officer of Media Defense Southeast Asia, called on the Court to declare Sections 4 (c) [4], 5, 6, 7 and 19 of the Act unconstitutional.

Named as respondents were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas III, National Bureau of Investigation director Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, Philippine National Police chief Nicanor Bartolome, and acting Director-General Denis Villorente of the Information and Communications Technology Office-Department of Science and Technology.

In their 41-page petition for certiorari, the petitioners sought for a writ of prohibitory injunction and/or temporary restraining order, against the respondents to stop them from implementing the five provisions, as well as Section 27, which appropriates P500,000 annually for the implementation of the law.

“The acts of respondents, if not immediately restrained or enjoined, will cause grave and irreparable injury to [us] as journalists, taxpayers, Filipino citizens, and/or members of the legal profession, and the entire Filipino people as RA 10175 tramples on the constitutional rights such as the right to freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, the right against double jeopardy, and right to equal protection of the laws,” the petitioners said.

They said the laws’ provision on libel was a continuing violation of the Philippines’ obligations under the International Covenant of Civil Rights after the United Nations Human Rights Council stated that libel as penalized under the Revised Penal Code was incompatible with freedom of expression and should be decriminalized.

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