PEOPLE power is online.
That is something that our legislators must fully appreciate and comprehend in order to understand why there is an absolute and urgent need to review the recently-passed Cybercrime Law under Republic Act 10175 and revise provisions that threaten people’s Constitutional rights and democracy itself.
The internet, as well as the fast-developing mobile communications technology, and what comprise these – an almost infinite amount of information, electronic mail, social media websites, and a new version of the traditional media of print and broadcast – has changed the way people communicate, think and live. There is a big community out there in cyber space – composed of informed, involved, and enthusiastic citizens both within the Philippines and abroad – which is as real as the communities on the ground.
“This new media is about individual expressions, freedom, empowerment and our democracy. This means that the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution has taken a new life in this medium,” said Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, among the new generation of senators and Senate Minority Leader, who recently filed bills to amend the Cybercrime Act.
Among the controversial provisions of the Act, which is now under a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court following several cases filed against it in addition to the widespread online and on-the-street protests from the public, relate to government access to real-time data, takedown provision, stiffer penalties, and libel. For community journalism and the newly-evolved citizen journalism, the repercussion is severe: it threatens the very role of media as society’s watchdog.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act is not completely flawed – it is well intended in terms of for example addressing emerging “hi-tech” crimes that older laws could not have foreseen. But the parts where the law terrorizes the people and their freedoms, our Senators better sit and fix them.
* * * * * *
WHY not Manny Pacquiao, too? Pacquiao, the only eight-division world champion boxing has ever produced, has also become rich. In fact, he is now considered a “silent billionaire”, his wealth all coming from his exploits in the roped ring.
Thus, when Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, filed her candidacy to run for vice governor of Sarangani, it raised not a few eyebrows. They asked: Is Pacquiao also trying to build a political dynasty of his own?
Maybe. Pacquiao himself is a reigning congressman of Sarangani and has also filed for re-election — not to mention that one of his siblings is also running for congressman in another district in Mindanao. Only a fool would say Pacquiao the billionaire will not shoulder his brother’s campaign logistics. It is said that PacMom, Pacquiao’s very popular mother, is merely biding her time. Soon, she’d also toss her hat into the political arena. That will be the day.