- Published on Monday, 07 January 2013 00:00
- Written by EVANGELINE DE VERA
By A Web design Company
THE Supreme Court has narrowed down to five the issues to be tackled in the oral arguments on January 15 on the 15 consolidated petitions questioning the constitutionality of Republic Act 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Law.
SC Associate Justice Roberto Abad met on Friday with the lawyers who filed the petitions before the high court to set the ground rules and points of discussion during the oral arguments.
The case was raffled to Abad after Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. inhibited from the case upon the motion of one of the petitioners, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, asking him to voluntarily recuse from handling the case.
Abad wanted to determine which of the many issues presented by the various petitions should be heard on oral arguments and which could be argued in written memoranda to be submitted to the Court after the oral arguments.
The oral arguments next week will be the first to be presided by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno following her appointment last August as top jurist.
The final list and sequence of issues to be argued, the lawyers who will argue which issues, the time allotted for the lawyers to present their arguments, and additional dates for oral arguments, if any, will be resolved by the Court en banc in its first session of the year this Tuesday and to be embodied in an Advisory to be issued to all the parties.
Lawyer Harry Roque, who was one of the petitioners, said he had been assigned to discuss libel provisions in the law, but said that he will begin his discussion by saying the law is null and void for being “overbreadth.”
Aside from Roque, other speakers who will argue are Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, Philippine Bar Association legal counsel Rodel Cruz, University of the Philippines professor Jesus Disini, and Julius Matibag of the National Union of People’s Lawyers.
Colmenares will discuss the unconstitutionality and vagueness of the law’s Sections 6 and 7, which pertains to “abetting or aiding” in the commission of a cybercrime, as well as separate conviction for the same crime under the Revised Penal Code.
Disini will tackle Section 12 which authorizes the real-time collection of traffic data, while Cruz will discuss Section 19 which pertains to the “take-down” clause in the law empowering the Department of Justice to restrict or block access to computer data found to be in prima facie violation of provisions of RA 10175.
Matibag will argue against Section 5, which supposedly undermines the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.
Last October 9, the SC issued a temporary restraining order, effective for 120 days, against the implementation/enforcement of RA 10175 after various groups from the media and civil society, and several individuals, including some members of Congress, petitioned the court to strike down some or all of the provisions of the law.
The Solicitor General, as counsel for the government, has submitted its comment to the various petitions arguing in favor of the constitutionality of a majority of the provisions of the law.