…but in a tragic way.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, a law that has enraged Filipino netizens because of its draconian measures and unconstitutional provisions, takes effect today, the 3rd of October 2012.
The Supreme Court, that heretofore esteemed body in which we were putting our faith for the ingenuous interpretation and stalwart safeguarding of the Law of the Land, has failed us. I was hoping for wise words from newly-installed Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, unswayed by neither controversy nor politicking by the other two branches of government. Instead, silence.
But clearly and without a shadow of doubt, certain provisions in Republic Act No. 10175, signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III last 12 September 2012, violate the Constitution. Couldn’t the high tribunal have, at the very least, issued a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the law while the justices spent time for “further study”? As of this writing, 7 petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court, and more will follow, attesting to the people’s clamor to protect civil liberties.
On Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other Internet spaces, thousands of Filipino netizens — and even a number of foreign sympathizers — have blackened their avatars as a sign of protest. Websites are now blacked out or sporting black ribbons. Filipinos are declaring this day a day of mourning, for the death of free expression online.
But that doesn’t mean the fight is over!
Filipinos aren’t some of the most active and most prolific users of social media for nothing. We value our freedom online, we recognize and advance the good that we can do with our electronic voices, we appreciate and respect the power of social media borne of online community-building. And so we will forge on and jealously guard what is rightfully ours: Internet Freedom!