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Despite the seven different and separate complaints against it, the implementation of the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 will still push through as scheduled.
This was after the Supreme Court on Tuesday decided not to take a vote on whether to grant several petitioners' request to issue a temporary restraining order against Republic Act 10175 because a number of justices skipped the regular weekly en banc session.
"The SC did not issue a TRO in the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 petitions which are up for further study," said SC spokesperspn Ma. Victoria Gleoresty Guerra in a statement sent to media in the afternoon.
The en banc decided to take up the matter in next week's full court session instead. Due to the deferment, the government therefore was not yet required to submit its comment on the petitions.
Guerra said four of the 14 justices were not present in the meeting. Guerra named three of the four justices who were absent — Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Diosdado Peralta.
She said the three magistrates all went on official business to Croatia for the Justice Sector Peer-Assisted Network Community of Practice Meetings for Information Systems Professionals in the Justice Sector and for Public Prosecutors. A fourth magistrate, Associate Justice Roberto Abad, did not attend the session because he was on a personal leave.
The petitions pending with the high court contesting the legality of the Cybercrime Act included that of a group of several organizations of journalists, led by Alab ng Mamahayag (ALAM).
Another petition was filed by Louis Biraogo, who also assailed the constitutionality of several portions of the law including Section 4(c) on libel. Biraogo earlier succeeded in having President Benigno Aquino III’s Executive Order No. 1 nullified by the Supreme Court.
The executive order created a Truth Commission to investigate anomalies during the administration of Aquino's predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The third petition was filed Wednesday last week by a group of technology law experts led by JJ Disini of the University of the Philippines-College of Law. Disini also questioned the same provisions in the Cybercrime Prevention Law.
The fourth complaint was filed the following day by Senator Teofisto Guingona III, the lone senator who objected to the Cybercrime measure during its third and final reading at the Senate. A fifth petition was filed by Davao-based broadcaster Alex Adonis, several journalists and bloggers, as well as lawyers led by Harry Roque Jr.
The sixth and seventh petitions were respectively filed by Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Patalino; and a group led by national artist Bienvenido Lumbera, along with several militant organizations, party-list, human rights, and labor groups. — RSJ, GMA News