Sloppily-written #Cybercrime Prevention Act too hard to repair - may as well be repealed #notocybercrimelaw

Considering that the Cybercrime Prevention Act is shot through with questionable provisions and that human rights advocates and a wide sector of media opposed it, it wasn't surprising the Supreme Court struck down several provisions. Personally, I had thought the high court would have declared the whole of the law unconstitutional. I suppose the decision was intended to please everyone; in the end they probably antagonised everyone concerned.

RA 10175 was poorly thought out and sloppily written. And now it is proven to be, as per ruling of the Supreme Court, a legally defective law. With the decision that major parts of the law are unconstitutional, it falls to the Executive to 'tweak' the law - likely through the implementing rules and regulations. But the IRR cannot sufficiently and validly cure those substantial defects. The IRR cannot amend the law itself.

On the other hand, amending RA 10175 through the regular legislative process will be very messy, requiring many of the sections to be rewritten. With such massive rewriting, the law might as well be repealed and a better crafted substitute measure passed.

Formulating a substitute, however, requires considerable time and resources. Besides, the repeal and enactment of a new law would hurt the pride of the lawmakers who passed it and the President who signed it into law. On the whole, this is probably the best choice, painful though it may be.

From the beginning the Penoy and the sponsors of RA 10175 bungled the affair by their clumsy insertion of sections violating or tending to violate freedom of expression, due process, and equal protection and privacy of communication. As a result, even the more laudable objective of giving law enforcement agencies the proper tools against child pornography, cracking, identity theft and criminal spam was compromised. Now, all these well-meaning measures will be flushed down the drain.



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