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The Aquino administration urged concerned stakeholders to engage the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a dialogue to address their concerns as the process of drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the newly enacted Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 would begin.
“In the meantime we believe there is an opportunity for reasonable discourse between concerned stakeholders and the Department of Justice. We urge the fullest and widest participation of stakeholders in this process,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.
Lacierda reiterated the Aquino administration’s position to uphold the civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution in response to the claims of the critics and some people who question the constitutionality of certain provisions of the new Act.
“Our Constitution is clear and uncompromising in the civil liberties it guarantees all our people. As the basic law, its guarantees cannot, and will not, be diminished or reduced by any law passed by Congress,” Lacierda said.
“The administration is equally adamant in upholding these liberties, which were regained at such high cost by our people. As the President said on September 27, the vigorous exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of a vibrant democracy, requires those who disagree not to oppress others,” Lacierda said.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act was enacted by Congress to address legitimate concerns about criminal behavior on the Internet and the effects of abusive behavior, according to Lacierda.
“Questions have been raised about the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Act. We recognize and respect efforts not only to raise these issues in court, but to propose amendments to the law in accordance with constitutional processes,” he said.
Lacierda pointed out that “no government entity has moved to deprive anyone of access to the Internet or to suppress civil liberties as exercised online.”
“In fact what has taken place is that hackers who claim to be aligned with critics of the Cybercrime Act are the ones who have engaged in online vandalism, depriving the broader public of access to much needed government information and services online,” he said.
Lacierda called on the critics of the Cybercrime Act to speak out against online vandalism and bullying with as much vigor and passion as they have expressed in their objections to certain provisions of this law.
“If our freedoms have been hard won, it would do us all well to remember that in the end, vigilantism harms the cause of freedom of expression and civil liberties for all netizens,” he said.