The latest outrage fad: Protests against the new Philippine anti-cybercrime law have become personal

After scanning online forums and social media discussions in the aftermath of the enactment of Republic Act 10175 also known as the Philippine Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, one thing has become quite evident: the fear mongering that has erupted around the Act (Jojo Robles in a Manila Standard article, for example wrote that “unprecedented freedom, anonymity and democracy allowed by the Internet may have come to a screeching, crashing halt”) has caused quite an amusing hysteria in the online commentary community.

Sideshow acts like Carlos Celdran, for example are now openly provoking the enforcement of the new law, posting statements on Twitter like “Heard [Philippine Senator] Tito Sotto was cruising a gay bath house in Quezon City last week. Spread your own truth about Sotto today!” and “Senator Tito Sotto is not only a plagiarist and misogynist, but he is also a coddler of rapists, drug dealers”. Various commenters on Facebook and members of online message board giant (PEx) are doing the same, posting statements like the following made by a PEx netizen Lucio_Liu

who cares about this cyber crime law!?



It’s a temper tantrum on a national scale against the actions of politicians who represent the Filipino people on account of their being elected to their offices on the back of the popular vote. A predisposition to make things personal with regard to the new anti-cybercrime law — to name-and-shame people — is no different from other “activist” “movements” past and present. My colleague Ben Kritz recently wrote about the anti-epal “movement” (a movement that aims to name-and-shame grandstanding politicians) and made this indictment of the larger society that hosts the malaise such movements aspire to uproot:

Like many people, I am not amused by giant posters featuring re-purposed actors and photo templates for mild retardation memes; but the practical solution to that, it seems, is the one suggested by COMELEC Chairman [Sixto] Brilliantes: If you find it offensive, then remember those people and don’t vote for them.

Simply attacking the practice of epal only addresses a symptom of a far bigger social dysfunction in this country, and a relatively minor part of the methodology by which that dysfunction is institutionally perpetuated in the electoral system.

Anti-epalism, the brouhaha over the non-passage of the Reproductive (RH) Bill, and now these so-called “protests” versus the scarecrow that is Philippine anti-cybercrime laws all have, true to Filipino form, become personal. Kritz may as well have been talking about just about any of the ocho-ocho hysterics — outrage fads as we now call them — sweeping self-described “social media activists”. As my other colleague ChinoF wrote in his seminal article where he coins the term…

Outrage is easy to make into a fad because people often give in to their emotions. Putting everything to the test, including their own feelings, is not popular. But people get suckered into it because, first of all, they don’t really like to think. Many Filipinos tend to be that way, too. An outrage fad can also show how ill-informed the person taking part is. They don’t want to know more, they think the little they know is enough for anger.

The issue it seems is obvious. All roads lead back to the fundamental character of the Filipino and the dysfunctional culture it spawned to the tune of a nation of 100 million. Filipinos are simply unable to regulate and police themselves. That kind of behaviour expected of a modern society is simply beyond the cognitive reach of the average Filipino mind and is evident in the way the simplest of rules and the most basic of courtesies simply escape the grasp of Filipino thinking. To such a society, the very modern privilege of “freedom of speech” and the “right” to “elect” their leaders have been granted. But questions remain as to whether Filipinos have truly earned these privileges.

On the back of a sense of entitlement to “freedom of speech” Filipinos are like four-year-olds armed with acetylene torches and averse to supervision as Get Real Post writer Ilda observes

[…] there are Filipinos who insist that setting up standards or some kind of guidelines is tantamount to suppression of freedom of speech. They even claim that people can say or write offensive language directed at individuals as they please and still be accepted as merely exercising their “freedom of speech.” Never mind that offensive language directed at individuals actually discourages free flow of discussion. You can say that they are being very ignorant of the law. Which is why discussions on forums in the Philippine setting quite often turn into mere noise.

We must resolve to follow the same type of standard to keep up with the rest of the western world and put order in our communities. We cannot continue to run our organizations or communities like the Wild, Wild West and expect progress to happen.

And to the notion of accountability over the sort of leaders and “representatives” Filipinos elect, we defer to the simple principle cited in the same article…

The late freedom of speech advocate and philosopher, Alexander Meiklejohn stated that, “the concept of democracy is that of self-government by the people. For such a system to work an informed electorate is necessary.”

Based on what Meiklejohn said, it is obvious that democracy in the Philippines cannot work. Democracy cannot work because not all the members of the electorate are educated enough to demand information from their public servants. Not only that, our history under authoritarian rule has somehow screwed up the way we enjoy our freedom.

I might add to that, “informed” and intelligent enough to work with said information.

On that note, the more important question needs to be answered: Are we addressing mere symptoms as Ben asserts, or are we getting to the bottom of the real Rizalian cancer that begs all the obvious solutions?

When we delegate intelligent debate to our favourite costumed superhero “social media activists” on the Net, we sort of lose the plot and create unnecessary noise.


Post Author: benign0

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20 Comments on "The latest outrage fad: Protests against the new Philippine anti-cybercrime law have become personal"

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Despite high internet/smartphone usage, the philippines is in an embryonic stage of growth relative to the maturity of use/application of social media. Consequently what is needed is greater understanding of both the benefits, and pitfalls, to individuals and society at large, rather than hastily, and bady drafted, elements of a bill which clearly could be used to adversely harrass individuals, and the track record in the philippines is that this is more likely than not. Even if the fear, lack of understanding by many, prevents discussion through self-censorship then it has already caused a backward step and a further climate… Read more »
Not just trying to impede upon a netizen’s ability to employ freedom of speech. The ultimate goal is to preserve the current status quo by blocking the emergence of an online direct democracy, by weeding out the sources and the platform from which proponents of these so called “subversive elements” operate. They seek to control the net just like any other media, yet the internet is more than just that. It is an Adhocracy born from chaos out of necessity. A future perfect government where the people are allowed to govern themselves through the practical use of technology. You call… Read more »
Hyden Toro

It is Patriotic to violate the Cybercrime law. The YellowTard President wants to take away slowly our Freedom of the Press; and Freedom of Expression. It is our Sacred Rights, in the constitution. Aquino wants the ABS-CBN, and his cahoot Media networks, to be the only sources of information. Become a Filipino Patriot…Trash the law…

Is it libel if it’s the truth? The Philippine courts usually answer “no”.

Apo Kalips
Much discussion has been focused on this libel clause of the Cybercrime Law. But I don’t see any regarding the CICC, which is formed for the enforcement of this law. How exactly would “suppression of real-time commission of cybercrime offenses through a computer emergency response team” be done? I’m starting to think of NSA and their sophisticated eavesdropping and hacking capability. What could be “appropriate and effective measures to prevent and suppress cybercrime”? The body is expected to have “capacity building” but with a budget of only 50 million pesos a year. So maybe it can’t go to NSA level,… Read more »

“So maybe it can’t go to NSA level, unless there is already an existing capability in the military.”

And that’s like, how long? AFAIK, our military is barely above parade-level. Considering that our neighbors have functional-enough militaries, that means PH is the weakest link. No surprise if some lolhuge neighbor comes a-knocking.


To challenge their integrity, can’t the people push to amend the cybercrime libel law to exclude all serving public office, past and present to the right to file this suit if the material published is based on an opinion related or pertaining to public matter and their actions while in power?


Freedom is not absolute… The same applies to freedom of expression which is not plenary as regards its scope. If we are not going to put some limitations on use of social networking then it is prone to abuse by those people with evil intention. It is a fact that many crimes are committed through the use of social networks and sometimes ill-doers could easily evade being caught because of the accessibility of the internet. The lawmakers would have not approved of the bill were it not to the advantages that it could offer.

Paul Farol (@paulfarol)

And fer crying out loud… We now have Digital Hero Tonyo Cruz belly-aching about the death of freedom because of the inclusion of libel in the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

It’s was just so silly, I had to write about it. 😉


[…] It was also being seen on some Pinoy Internet circles in their battle against the cyber crime bill. I opposed it on legitimate grounds because it will only lead to leadership, but some Filipinos are only jumping the bandwagon. Some also opposed it because their rights will be threatened by these laws. The libel clause was the most controversial aspects of the bill. […]


[…] There were some people opposed to this bill because it was an outrage fad, but most of them opposed this bill because it will be similar to SOPA and PIPA. This is the evidence that Philippine politicians were idiots and can;t use technology properly and treated the Internet as a form of traditional media. […]


[…] There were some people opposed to this bill because it was an outrage fad, but most of them opposed this bill because it will be similar to SOPA and PIPA. This is the evidence that Philippine politicians were idiots and can;t use technology properly and treated the Internet as a form of traditional media. […]


plagiarism na naman yan . .sino kasi ng boto sa mamang yan dati . . . heheeh

well now you don't say
well now you don't say

Carlos Celdran censors his own blog. Hypocrisy at its best.


It is in these times where we must be reminded of the importance of responsibility, ethics, respect and discipline and the like, which is very obvious na kulang na kulang sa mga kababayan natin.

The pinoys are lacking discipline as what they’re saying? then PROMOTE it! this “law” is not the solution. nor that any laws are perfect. What we need is something like a booth accessible to everyone to give flyers to the common pinoy indicating the importance of discipline, respect, responsibility, ethics and what can it do to a person and in effect a country.

for how many times have we asked for growth, opportunities and what have you and yet no one is looking back from the basics everything starts from families. but if a parent is doing nothing except drinking alcohol in the streets then what’s the use? The gov’t did not even looked into this issue. now they’re unaware why we have such a dysfunctional society and yet they’re unaware WHY it had gotten this way? when was the last time they promoted these traits like ethics, responsibility, discipline et al? This is common sense and yet its importance is great that… Read more »

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