"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

The Philippine CyberCrime Law, Ego Salutant Vos (We Salute You)

In Wikipedia, the finger (as in giving someone the finger or the bird[1]), also known as the finger wave, the middle finger, flipping someone off,[1] flicking someone off, or the one finger salute is considered a universal symbol of contempt in the West. Some even take it as obscene. The one finger salute for me is a non-verbal expression of endearment to those that rile us, we dislike or abhor.

As a Filipino in diaspora, I have witnessed in the last couple of decades how the internet, and the social media that rely on it as a platform, have become an integral part of our people’s lives. As a people looking for their identity, Filipinos suddenly found a safe, practical and user-friendly medium of communication, of reaching out to love ones and friends, of airing their angst or gripes, of expressing their ideas. Distance became surmountable, absence became less unbearable and long unsaid emotions and feelings found an outlet of expression and reached aching hearts, separated by time and space.

In many ways and for so many of us, the freedom of access provided by the nether world, not to mention the anonymity it easily provides its user, has given us a link to people, places and ideas heretofore aliens to us, beyond our reach or inaccessible to us, though some are not only familiar but also near and dear to us. To many Filipinos, both at home and in Diaspora, the internet forms part of their bridge to their humanity. It is a modern technical structure of communication of the 21st century that affirms the existence of one of a man’s fundamental freedoms as a human being – the freedom of expression.

Our experience then and now has shown us how important our liberty to express ourselves is, regardless of the unpopularity/propriety of our ideas, in the maintenance of our democratic space in the Philippines. Precisely because we are still free, from fear or threat to life or liberty,  to voice our sentiments or  to air our grievances to the government, in any medium available to us , there is still HOPE that we could still improve our lot and our imperfect society/government.  The light at the end of the tunnel is still visible, And as long as there is light, no matter how dim, the sword need not be unsheathed.   

It is with this as a backdrop that we look at R.A. 10175.  

I have no beef with the criminalization of pornography, bigotry of all kinds, fraud, theft, propagation of hate and violence through the social web. They are inherently wrong in themselves and a bane to any society. But to proscribe libel in the internet as a crime with much higher penalty to boot than libel outside the internet is to create a “ a chilling effect “ on our right to freely express ourselves in the internet ! To give the DOJ almost absolute right to ACT as a national censor agency on what should be banned, upon finding by DOJ of a prima facie violation of R.A. 10175 ( even without court approval ), in the internet is to give SUPER AUTHORITY to the DOJ on what we could or could express not in the internet. To give the police authority and or the NBI the power to eaves drop on our most private conversation through skype or private message in the internet on the basis of a sworn statement on probable cause of violation of this special law before the court is just unbelievable. Even a mere ATTEMPT to violate this law is deemed an offense. R.A. 10175, as it is, seems more intended to suppress criticism than to safeguard the right to criticize.

What is it that the Philippine government would like to protect under this law? Is the Philippine government protecting itself from the cries of her people? Of course, there are many of those who abused the liberty provided by the internet. But we are equally within reach of defensive mechanism against assault to our dignity in the internet. We could simply delete those offensive postings on our wall or blocked them or reply to them in like manner and or in defense, with ease and in the comfort of our room or basement unlike in the print or broad cast media.  So why this draconian measure, aimed at the jugular of our freedom to express ourselves in the internet? 

The freedom of expression is the soul of a free mind. Its suppression, in any form and in any which way, maims the mind. Definitely, a maimed mind is the nursemaid of tyrants.

To R.A. 10175, as long as it maims the mind, we give “you the bird “!    
Emerito F. Salud - A lawyer from the Ateneo law School ' 73, a member of the NY Bar since 1994, a FILAM community activist, a radio-commentator of RadioPinoy USA, he is currently the VP for External Affairs, FALDEF and Director for Advocacy of NaFFAA REgion 1. He is also a member of the NJ Chapter-Movement for Free Philippines, founded by the late Senator Raul Manglapus, and a founding member of Kaibigan Inc., based at the Port of Newark, NJ, a support group for Filipino merchant mariners (seamen).

Subscribe in a reader
Pedestrian Observer Group Blog
Click on the images to receive your free email updates
POGB will not sell, exchange, use or allow any 3rd party access to your email for
any other purposes without exception, email exclusively for article updates only.
Follow Merit @ Facebook, NetworkedBlogs, & Twitter

4 Speak Out:

Related Posts with Thumbnails