Press Release
October 4, 2012


Ang sinasabi ng batas, kung iyan ay libel under the revised penal code, libel din yan dito sa cybercrime. May definition yan under the revised penal code, malinaw ang mga elemento ng libel.

Q: Is the Phil gov't capable of running after these cybercriminals?

A: Maaaring walang enough jails, enough policemen, enough fiscal power, enough judges to prosecute all of these offenders but that is no argument why we should not have a law like this. Kung ganoon ang argument, eh di wag na tayong magkaroon ng criminal laws.

Kaya nga may provision dito on international cooperation covered by the Budhapest convention na nagsasabing magtutulung-tulong ang mga bansa in case of transnational crime, parang Interpol.

Q: Kung wala pang IRR, why did Sec. De Lima order the hunting down of the hackers?

A: Investigate, yes. Dahil yun naman ay to identify lang who did he hacking eh. Hindi naman nya sinabi na ipepreso na, hindi pa nga natin alam kung sino eh. That is the gravity of a crime committed on the internet. Maaaring yung kriminal na yun ay not even within our shores. Almost anonymous yan eh. But there is now cooperation among police and prosecution agencies from different countries, to help each other and provide information.

Q: Ang sharing, kasama din?

A: Kung may connivance, ang sinasabi ko. Kung conspirator ka, at alam mo kung sino ang nagpadala nyan, nagkausap kayo, ito, ishare matin sa lahat--conspirator ka nyan.

Conspiracy na gumawa ng malisyosyo na istorya at ikalat ito dahil may galit ang author na iyon, at nag-usap kayo na ikalat ito sa lahat--yun ang abetting. Pero kung hindi mo naman kilala ang author nun perp nagustuhan mo ang sinabi nya kaya mo shinare, hindi considered abetting yun, wala kang liability nun.

Ang burden of proof ay nasa complainant. Kaya nga sinasabi ko na napakahirap na iprove yan. Kaya wala kayong dapat ikatakot.

Dapat nag-usap sila, may prior agreement na ikakalat nila.

Q: Saan nanggaling yung heavier penalties?

A: To be fair, hindi nanggaling kay Sen. Sotto yung provision na iyon. Recommendation yun ng DOJ at ng TWG (DOJ, NBI, PNP). Sabi nila ang cybercrime ay more widespread, more extensive dahil nga with one click you can spread it throughout the world--kaya one level higher din ang penalty. Yun ang recommendation nila. Kaya nung pumaspk iyon sa aming committee, wala namang nagquestion. Wala din namang nagquestion sa floor nung idinidebate sa floor. Kahit sa bicameral level walang nagquestion kaya there was consensus.

Kelangan amendment. The IRR cannot amend the law, the IRR can only clarify vagueness and ambiguity in the law.

Hindi ba ang mga bank records and bank accounts, confidential? Without the consent of the depositor or account holder you cannot release the details into the public. O ngayon, kung ma-hack pala, ibig sabihin na-compromise na ang integrity and confidentiality of bank records. Yung 400 na Taiwanese na naaresto, everyday they were withdrawing almost 20 million dollars galing sa mga bank account ng mga kababayan nila at ibang mga Filipino dahil nga na-hack nila ang mga account. At dahil wala pa tayong batas o framework nung panahon na iyon, they can continue to do this elsewhere.

Q: Sir, how do you feel that some senators admitted that they were unaware of the provision on libel?

A: What do you want me to say, na nalulungkot ako na iniwanan ako. No, not all, I think you can defend this law before any tribunal, human rights and others. This is a very strong public policy for the common good, for the good of the majority because this is developing a new venue of communication which about 20, 30 years ago was nonexistent. This is the technology communication information that is empoowering our development and powering the development of the planet.

How many laws are passed in a year? I have received close scrutiny except all the laws that I have sponsored.

Q: Sir, where was the libel inserted?

A: In the floor.

Q: Who inserted the libel provision?

A: Tito Sotto admitted that he introduced the provision.

This law is not going to impair the right of an internet user, on the contrary expand his usage of the internet and his right as an internet user by protecting the confidentiality of his identity, of the content of the message he sent to his friends and to the whole world. That is the essence of this because nga we want to develop information and communication infrastructure in our country because it's going to be useful in running an efficient e-government, it's going to be useful in trading and dealing of goods

Q: On Section 12 violating wire-tapping and right to privacy...

A: Ginawa nga nating harmonized yan eh. Remember Miriam stood up and pointed that out. She made an amendment that this traffic surveillance ought to be only about the flow and destination of the traffic but you cannot look into the content, you cannot look into identity of the sender or the recipient, so they are protected and if one wants to look who sent it or where did he send it, you have to go to court and get a warrant. This is the same protection for the blocking authority.

Q: Section 6 says the cybercrimes will be penalized with one degree higher punishment, so will you file an amendatory bill to lower or equate penalty?

A: I-remove nalang ang one degree higher. Sa criminal law or criminal code, kailangan uniform except kung iba-iba ang crimes, iba-iba ang penalty, but kung pareho ang crimes, it ought to be the same. Siguro, because this is new technology ang sabi ng mga nag-advise sa amin ay kailangan i-taas natin.

Q: So ang mangyayari iba-ibang uri ng cybercrime, iba-ibang penalty?

A: Siyempre oo. Ang general principle nga eh kung iyan ay 6 na buwan sa penal code, gawin nating one year, one-degree higher.

Q: May time pa ba para i-amend within this Congress?

A: Oo, madali lang naman iyan. Amendatory lang naman. Ito ay na-debate na. This has been threshed out at the committee level, at plenary at the bicameral conference. This should be able to get it out.

Q: So what is your target sir, amend the bill before campaign period?

A: I don't want to fix a period. I am sure that we can do it within the life of this congress, as long as within this session.

Q: Cong. Susan Yap was interviewed last night, they were not aware of the changes? Isn't it alarming that one of the authors didn't object and was unaware?

A: Iba-iba ang set of authors sa House, iba-iba rin ang set of authors sa sa Senate. I don't know whether Congresswoman Yap is an author. I suspect she is that is why she was sitting on the bicameral conference and then if you are a member of the bicameral the more reason the burden is heavier on you to look at what you are signing because you certify at the bicameral conference report that it was okay for you.

Q: Sir, kanina you were justifying that the punishment will be one-degree higher, dahil mas madali ipakalat..

A: And dahil mahirap i-determine kung sino nauna, you need technology para alamin kung sino nagsabi o sumulat nun. Q: So bakit natin ibabalik?

A: Dahil nga sa principle sa criminal law, for the same crime the same penalty whatever is the method by which it was used unless there is an aggravating circumstance na sinasabi ng batas ought to be taken into account.

Q: Sir, were you surprised? Did you expect na magiging controversial ito?

A: No, I am not surprised at all. This is a new technology, a new domain, a new universe. You have to expect people fearing the unknown. That's why it's incumbent upon us to explain what it is and the importance this law will have on our society. This is vital eh.

Q: May mga misinformation po and misconceptions...

A: Either misinformation or misapprehension. Yung hindi nalinawan ng mabuti. The general public, nagrerely sa mga account nga mga media kaya encumbent sa atin na ipaliwanag sa kanila ang batas na ito. Formone, wala pa namang nadadawit sa batas na ito.

Q: You were out of the country daw po during the voting?

A: As long as there was majority voting for the law, it's okay. Usually naman for third reading wala ka nang maisisingit eh. Yes or mo or abstain na lang yan eh.

Q: Previous comments are made, are they still liable now?

A: Hindi naman retroactive ito eh. Hindi pa nga effective ito ngayon, kaya pwede ka pa mag-libel ngayon.

As long as they are not libelous. Freedom of speech does not include that, it is outside of that protection. Thatbis from time immemorial. Hindi kataka taka iyan na if you commit libel against a person whether through your blog or through your column or news writeup, you stand to be charged because you have to be responsible for what you have done.

Q: Ano ang maidudulot na kabutihqn ng cybercrime law pagdating ng election campaign season?

A: Ang overall benefit nito sa atong lipunan at sa ating bansa ay nakakatulong ito sa development ng information and communication technology at ang IT BPO industry. Napakalaki ng naiaambag nito sa ating ekonomiya. May pinakamalaking nairulong sa paglikha ng bagong trabaho, almost 600'000 directly and about the same number indirectly. Kumikita ito in foreign exchange somewhere around 12 billion dollars. In three years' time ang earnings nito ay around 25 billion dollars at may 1.3 million direct employment-- that's 1.3million well-paying jobs. But aside from job creation and foreign exchange it brings, IT is the most powerful technology operating now in the entire planet because it promotes commerce.

Yung record nga sa America, and that's a big barometer of economic health, yung Christmas shopping nila more online than actual. Sa America and England. Yung sa e-commerce, sa Africa palaki nang palaki yan. And through SMS, it is the principal avenue and channel for remitting, for paying, almost for everything sa Kenya, South Africa. Samakatwid, sa atin, ngayon we have about 36 or 37 million internet users, ang karapatan nila sa paggamit ng internet ay much more secured. They're protected kung ano ang sinabi nila sa internet lalo na kung ine-mail nila yung boyfriend nila o yung asawa nila o nag-remit sila ng pera. Yung bank account nila better protected dahil alam ng mga criminal na kapag hinack mo yung bank account at ninakaw mo yung balanse, you're liable.

Q: So sir, mapi-prevent yung character assassination and demolition jobs...

A: But you know, that's a very small portion of the use of the internet. The larger use of internet is in data transmission, in messaging, in improving processes of government, in delivering education to inaccessible places, in delivering health advice and diagnosis in far-flung areas--yung telemedicine. That is the larger benefit that society gains as a result of this technology. And unless we protect it, and we tell the users, "You know you can use it because it's safe." At kung yung mag-abuso dyan is liable for his behavior, then it's much more comfortable to use this channel of communication.

Q: Ngayong election season, may mga nagsasabing baka mag-create ng backlash ito sa mga proponents...

A: Palagay ko hindi naman. I think the Filipinos are more intelligent than we think. I've seen that. I've ran for the Senate four times and every time, I'm amazed at the perceptiveness and intelligence displayed by our people. So I don't want to insult our people and say that they will be swayed by mere apprehension because as of now we're working on fear, apprehension and anxiety that are still being conceived rather than actualized. Wala pa namang actual damage. What they're saying is not happening yet.

Q: Other issues. Is the appointment of former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca as Comelec commissioner not questionable considering that she has pending graft case and standing warrant of arrest?

A: Ano ba yung graft case niya? [Malversation of public funds.] I don't think it's questionable because obviously she is qualified. The only question is cases and cases can be filed against you by your political opponent, and just the fact that you're spending doesn't mean you are disqualified. The Commission will look into the validity of that charge that's why we have the Commission on Appointments. And we will see. I don't want to pre-judge it because I don't even know what charge she's facing.

Hindi naman siya incumbent, ex-governor na siya so she's gonna be preventively suspended. Maraming mga ganun na may pending case pero when we interview and ask the nominee during the committee deliberation, they can explain. Some, we let go, others we say we'll wait for the disposal of your case. Ganun din siguro mangyayari sa kaniya.

Q: Considering uupo na siya, kailangan na ba niya mag-post ng bail? Medyo double-standard daw dahil kaalyado ng Palasyo?

A: Hintayin nalang natin ang committee hearing ng Commission on Appointments. Umattend kayong lahat para mapakinggan natin yang kasong yan.

Q: Other matter. Yung sa North Rail project, sabi ni Sec. Abaya, idadaan daw sa arbitration process para malaman kung magkano talaga yung dapat bayaran. Paano ba sir yung sistema?

A: Usually sa international agreements nga ganyan may provision for international arbitration. There are at least three centers of arbitration for commercial dispute--one is in Hong Kong, one is in Geneva, and one is in Singapore. Either one I think one party can go to and ask for arbitration, and that's part and partial of international commercial transaction.

Hindi ba sinuspend na nga yung project na yun. Kung ma-delay some more, no damage because it's already delayed, it's already stopped. Yun nga ang impediment dun. As long as the case is pending, hindi ka makakakuha ng another contractor. Katulad ng nangyari sa NAIA 3. Hanggang yung arbitration between Fraport, a German company, and the Philippines is pending in Singapore and in Washington, hindi natin ma-operate yung NAIA 3. Yung mga ganun kailangan talaga wini-weigh natin ang cost-benefit ng mga ganung decision kasi maaaring in the end manalo tayo. But in the meantime, the need for fast commuter train between Manila and Clark nasakripisyo. And we need that fast commuter train to move the overcrowded NAIA passenger to Clark which is practically empty.

Masamang impression yan dahil pagpalit ng ating administrasyon, hindi natin ini-honor and kontrato ng outgoing administration. But in the case of North Rail, mukhang may kalokohan dun eh. So I think it's alright that we don't accept it at its face value but also have it scrutinized. We scrutinize it ourselves but we want a third party to scrutinize it and that's where the arbitration comes in. Mabilis yan, hindi naman husgado yan eh. Private arbitration yan at talagang mga recognized arbitrators.

Ang penalty dyan, yung gastos ng kalaban mo kailangan i-reimburse mo. Magastos yang international arbitration dahil mahal ang mga international lawyers. Sa Fraport, malaki ang nagastos ng Philippine government. Almost over a hundred million pesos, yung lawyers' fees lang ah. Talagang luging-lugi tayo sa North Rail.

Q: Sir, why did you decide to run for governor?

A: Huwag na natin tanungin ang local, hindi naman national yun. Basta kukumbidahin ko kayong lahat to my inauguration.

Q: But sir, after your first term as governor babalik pa ba kayo dito sa Senado?

A: Ay hindi na, ayaw ko na. Para iboto niyo naman si Sonny. Si Sonny nalang bibisitahin ko dito.

Q: Pwede naman po yung mag-ama...

A: Ay hindi, masama yun. Ayaw ko nun.

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