Online libel to be used vs PNoy’s foes, critics

MANILA, Philippines – Rights group Karapatan on Wednesday said the internet libel provision in the Cybercrime Law will most likely be used by the Aquino administration against its critics and political foes.
"The libel provision in the cybercrime law will most likely be used against those who criticize President (Benigno) Aquino III's anti-people policies and programs and those who expose corruption and rights violations," Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
She said that the libel provision online will prevent people's organizations, like Karapatan, from "looking deeper into the roots of poverty, coming out with the right solutions and plan of action."
"Such lies serve as blinders and prevent the people from pursuing the real path to development," Palabay added.
Karapatan was among the organizations that filed a petition for a Temporary Restraining Order at the Supreme Court.
In its petition, the group said that the measure "poses serious threats to the right to privacy, freedom of speech and expression, among other civil and political rights."
Karapatan also criticized the law for its "implications on the work of human rights defenders, as this further impedes on our right to articulate the facts on the human rights situation that we gather on the ground and our analyses on the situation.”
On Oct. 8, 2012, Karapatan submitted a complaint before the United Nations, through Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
The complaint said the Cybercrime Law constitutes several violations of international human rights conventions and declarations, including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of which the Philippines, as a signatory, has the obligation to implement.