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Petition Summary

Petition Summary

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Published by Jhay Rocas

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Published by: Jhay Rocas on Oct 04, 2012
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05/13/2014

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SUMMARY 
 ANTHONY IAN M. CRUZ et al v. HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO S. AQUINO III et a
Certiorari & Prohibition [With Application for the Issuance of a TemporaryRestraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction]Supreme Court, ManilaFiled on 04 October 2012
BACKGROUND
Bloggers and netizens – citizens who have and who actively usetheir internet access – raise the alarm over a newly-signed and newly-enacted law violating their individual and collective rights, and destroysthe idea and reality of the Internet as an open public forum andmarketplace of ideas.Inasmuch as they are concerned by the new law’s many violationsof their fundamental and constitutional rights as individuals, they toll thebells now over the clear and present dangers Republic Act No. 10175,otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012(“Cybercrime Prevention Act”), pose on the internet as a platform forclose to one-third of the population. The internet is where they coulddiscuss issues and concerns, respond during disasters and crises,demand improvements in various aspects of national life and, mostimportantly, to speak truth to power.Before, citizens solely depended on newspapers, periodicals,radio, and televisions to exercise their fundamental and constitutionalrights to free expression, to redress of grievances and even to assemblyand association. Today, the internet and even mobile phones havebecome the platform and mediums of citizens themselves from whichthey exercise their rights.In fact, Filipinos have excelled in internet use and earned for thePhilippines the new monicker “social media capital of the world”. To the complete shock of citizens, the Government adopted a newlaw that involves spying on citizens, seizure without probable cause,prior restraint, subsequent punishment, and other acts prohibited underthe Constitution.
 
 Thus, in light of this grave context, conferred upon the Judiciary isthe ponderous duty to rein in the Legislative and Executive Branches of Government to their own allocated places under the Constitution. As thefinal arbiter of all legal controversies and the last bulwark of democracyin this jurisdiction, the Supreme Court is tasked with the most noble andawesome duty to uphold the Constitution and protect the liberties of citizens. The Honorable Court is petitioners’ only ally in upholding theirinalienable civil rights under the Constitution, most especially thefollowing indisputable entitlements under the Bill of Rights:
RIGHTS TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW & EQUALPROTECTION OF LAW
“Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty,or property without due process of law, nor shall any personbe denied the equal protection of the laws.”
RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES &SEIZURES
“Section 2. The right of the people to be secure intheir persons, houses, papers, and effects againstunreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature andfor any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant orwarrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause tobe determined personally by the judge after examinationunder oath or affirmation of the complainant and thewitnesses he may produce, and particularly describing theplace to be searched and the persons or things to beseized.”
RIGHT TO PRIVACY OF COMMUNICATION &CORRESPONDENCE
“Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication andcorrespondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful orderof the court, or when public safety or order requiresotherwise, as prescribed by law.(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or thepreceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose inany proceeding.”
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RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AND EXPRESSION
“Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging thefreedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or theright of the people peaceably to assemble and petition thegovernment for redress of grievances.”
RIGHT AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY 
“Section 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardyof punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished bya law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under eithershall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the sameact.”Now more than ever, therefore, with all due respect, the power of  judicial review must not be abrogated or abandoned by the HonorableCourt. Otherwise, the other branches of Government will be able tooperate as they very well please even beyond their fences, to thedetriment of citizens.It is precisely for this reason that petitioners assail theconstitutionality and legality of the following Assailed Provisions of theCybercrime Prevention Act:(1)
SECTION 4(c)(4)
separately
 
criminalizing acts of libel, asdefined under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, asamended, that are committed through a computer systemor any other similar means that may be devised in thefuture (“Cyber Libel”);(2)
SECTION 5
criminalizing acts that aid or abet thecommission of any offense punishable under the CybercrimePrevention Act, as well as the attempt to commit the same,including Section 4(c)(4) on Cyber Libel;(3)
SECTION 6
imposing a higher penalty for the commission of any offense punishable under the Cybercrime PreventionAct, i.e., one (1) degree higher than that provided under theRevised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws;(4)
SECTION 7
providing that a prosecution under theCybercrime Prevention Act shall be without prejudice to anyliability for violation of any provision of the Revised PenalCode, as amended, or special laws;
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