Press Release
September 27, 2012


Senator Chiz Escudero today said he will file an amendatory bill to amend or repeal the provision of libel as a crime in the newly passed Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In the weekly press forum at the Senate, Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights said the particular provision in RA 10175 should be repealed as it runs contrary to his position as a principal author of a bill decriminalizing libel.

Sec. 4 Para 4 of the cybercrime prevention law broadens the coverage of libel which now includes those with the use of "computer system or other similar means that may be devised in the future."

The senator said it was a personal oversight on his part that the above clause was inserted in the Committee Report when the Senate voted for its passage.

Escudero in 2010 filed SBN 2162 decriminalizing libel to accord greater protection to freedom of speech and expression either those done in writing or other similar means by taking away the threat or fear of incarceration, restraint of liberty and fine.

"This move is just being consistent with my original bill to decriminalize libel. At the very least, if at all, libel should just be made a civil liability. If a person is proven to have besmirched someone, let the guilty party pay for damages. But it should be remembered that in libel, proof of the truth is defense."

Escudero reiterated what was stated in SB No. 2162, "that a strong media could give great service to the Filipino people in providing an effective mechanism of complete and fearless transparency over the excesses of government in the exercise of its powers and prerogatives."

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