Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cyber Crime

With all of this to-do and hullabaloo surrounding the recent proposed addendum to the Cyber Crime law, I couldn't help but think that maybe the country is better off going to Cyber Rehab than fighting a battle that will not be.

Sure, the hubbub will not die down soon, and the 11 Senators up for re-election on Halalan 2013 who voted FOR this bizarre and unjust law will have statements to say, but if SOPA and PIPA were trashed, what makes the Philippines think that they have the power -- nay, the RIGHT -- to infringe upon the privacy of its citizens, as well as their freedom of speech.

Some of the provisions of this law makes sense, as Criela stated in her blog, child pornography is definitely something we should fight against, but that isn't what the Filipino netizens are in an uproar about. The line that Tito Sotto blurred when he added the anti-cyber bullying/ libel/ slander supplement is what caused the collective angry huff of online Filipinos.

Following his shameful bouts with plagiarism in his recent speeches, Filipinos gathered en masse and took to the internet their disappointment with their elected official (who also happens to take the office of Senate Majority Floor Leader. I shake my head in disgust). When the Filipinos cried foul and tried to browbeat the lofty senator into making an apology, he made it worse by either 1) outright denying the claims or 2) stating that "hindi krimen ang Plagiarism sa Pilipinas"/ "Plagiarism is not a crime in the Philippines". Way to go, Senator. Bobby Kennedy (whom he plagiarized) is rolling over in his grave.

And now, it seems to me that after suffering the sharp tongue of affronted kababayans, this is Tito Sotto's way of pushing back; of strong-arming the Filipinos to his will. After all, he did deny Leloy Claudio and Miguel Syjuco their proposed debate as they were not worthy of his time, not being elected officials and all (so it seems we're right back to the RH Bill debate. Hello, square one. Nice to see you again.)

As a self-proclaimed netizen, however, I do hold to question what exactly constitutes as cyber bullying. I've only REALLY seen them in gossip sites and most of those cases and claims are against celebrities who never really see what is written about them. Majority of the cyberheads I know have gone the extra mile to protect themselves from vicious bullies looking for new prey. All accounts: social media, instant messaging, emails, blogs... these all have the option to be private. And well, if you don't use the necessary means to parry those blows, when you expose your life to the world in that manner, you do set yourself up to hear the good and the bad. So here's my say: cyber bullying can be prevented. There are precautions for that. Those who get cyber bullied ALLOW themselves to get cyber bullied. Simple enough.

In any case, I've rambled enough, and written things that would put me to jail. But as a last say: Tito Sotto, I think the measures you have taken to stroke your bruised ego is tantamount to the amount of beating it will take once this silly act passes. You have been warned.

From Criela's blog: the definition of Libel based on the Revised Penal Code:


"Art. 353. Definition of libel. — A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. — Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases:
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty; and 2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions.
Art. 355. Libel means by writings or similar means. — A libel committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party.
Art. 356. Threatening to publish and offer to present such publication for a compensation. — The penalty of arresto mayor or a fine from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who threatens another to publish a libel concerning him or the parents, spouse, child, or other members of the family of the latter or upon anyone who shall offer to prevent the publication of such libel for a compensation or money consideration."