MANILA — Days ahead of the scheduled oral arguments on the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 at the Supreme Court, netizens and various groups initiated protest actions.
The temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the high court on the implementation of the Republic Act 10175 will lapse on February 6. The SC will start hearing oral arguments January 15, Tuesday.
Various groups, including journalists, bloggers, lawyers and activists, have filed petitions before the SC questioning the constitutionality of the law. They cited violations of privacy and violations of the freedom of expression, among others.
Members of the #NotoCyberCrimeLaw coalition held a meeting, January 10 at the College of Education, University of the Philippines in Diliman and vowed to hold various forms of protest, online and offline.
Most of the conveners of the coalition are petitioners to the case.
Anthony Ian Cruz of the Bloggers and Netizens for Democracy declared January 11 as Black Friday and called on everyone to wear black and turn their profile pictures on social media networks Facebook and Twitter to black.
Cruz deemed that the TRO issued by the SC in October is a victory of the Filipino people and called on netizens to unite once again to exert pressure on the Supreme Court.
“Let us show this government that we are not easily fooled and that we do not easily forget,” Cruz said in Filipino during the meeting.
Marjohara Tucay, editor of the Philippine Collegian, student publication of UP Diliman, said at least 77,000 have signed the petition of the #NotoCybercrimeLaw. Tucay called on fellow students and netizens to gather more signatures.
Youth leaders from Kabataan party list, Anakbayan and College Editors Guild of the Philippines announced they will hold a protest vigil on January 14.
Vencer Crisostomo, chairman of Anakbayan, said students from various colleges and universities will march to the Supreme Court on January 15.
Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said protest actions will start at 9 a.m. on January 15.
“Let us be there to show our support to our lawyers,” Reyes said. Five lawyers of various petitioners will present arguments against the law on Tuesday.
In an interview with Bulatlat.com, National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera said: “Filipinos must unite to assert our right to privacy.”
Lumbera said the proponents of the law must get a clear indication that Filipinos are opposed to the Cybercrime Law.
Lumbera called on fellow artists to fight for freedom of expression, adding that the internet is one of the venues by which artists and writers get wider audience.
He encouraged artists to be more creative in portraying the people’s opposition to Cybercrime Law.
Political memes such as those created by Pixel Offensive, a group of visual artists, have become viral after the enactment of the law.
Amendatory bills not tackled
Meanwhile, Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino told the members of the #NotoCybercrimeLaw that the Congress failed to tackle the bills seeking to amend RA 10175.
“There has been a missed opportunity to repeal the controversial provisions. The bills were not even subjected to a committee deliberation,” Palatino lamented.
Palatino, also an active blogger, said Filipinos must enjoin netizens from all over the world to support the campaign of Filipinos against the Cybercrime law.
A press conference is set tomorrow, January 12.
January 15 will be devoted to the petitioners for their oral arguments. Another schedule is set for the Office of the Solicitor General.
Lawyer Harry Roque, also one of the petitioners, said they will ask the high court to extend the TRO until the case is resolved. The high court decides when to issue a resolution.
Cruz said: “We must exhaust all means to exert political pressure.” (Bulatlat.clom)