CEAP joins public clamor to repeal or amend anti cybercrime law

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MANILA, Oct. 8, 2012—The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has urged the government to heed the words of the late Pope John Paul II in yielding to the public’s clamor to repeal or at least amend the questionable provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The administrators of CEAP’s 1,345 member-schools particularly called on lawmakers to revisit the message of the Pope during his February 17, 1981 address to then president Ferdinand Marcos and the nation during his pastoral visit.

In a statement titled “No national security without secure human rights,” the CEAP quoted the late Pope as saying, “Even in exceptional situations that may at time arise, one can never justify any violation of the fundamental dignity of the human person or of the basic rights that safeguard his dignity.

“Legitimate concern for the security of a nation, as demanded by the common good, could lead to the temptation of subjugating to the State the human being and his or her dignity and rights.

“Any apparent conflict between the exigencies of security and of the citizen’s basic rights must be resolved according to the fundamental principle—upheld always by the Church—that social organization exists only for the service of man and for the protection of his dignity and that it cannot claim to serve the common good when human rights are not safeguarded.”

The CEAP is convinced that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic 10175 is “disturbing” as it compromises basic human rights with the issue of national security.

“We are wary of this law, while trying to combat criminal activities on the Internet, unlawfully curtails the individual’s right to free speech. We are disturbed by this law, while hoping to respond quickly to offenses committed ‘online,’ gives blanket authority to the Executive Arm to restrict or control data on the Internet,” the CEAP said.

The CEAP also expressed worry over certain provisions of the law, saying these may be precedent to another era of suppression of liberties by the State, similar to what happened during Martial Law.

“We remember it was only a quarter of a century ago that the fundamental rights of our people were trampled upon by a dictatorial regime. We are apprehensive that the Declaration of Policy contained in Section 2 as well as Section 4 sub-paragraph c-4 (Libel), Section 7 (Liability under Other Laws), Section 12 (Real-time Collection of Traffic Data), Section 19 (Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data) in RA 10175 pave the way for another era of suppression of liberties by the State by the State,” the CEAP added.

The CEAP said it calls for the immediate repeal or amendment of the provisions it has identified, adding that the law violates the constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms of expression and of speech, more so the right to privacy. (YouthPinoy)

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