Republic Act 10175: Has ‘cyber martial law’ been declared yet?

Whereas, there are calls to “educate” the public on the alleged evils of Republic Act 10175 or the Philippine Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, it seems those who are making the loudest of such calls are themselves spreading information that may instead mis-educate the public.

One Twitter user who goes by the name @BishopLuc posted a tweet stating implicitly as fact that the RA 10175 will in effect have legalised monitoring of ‘suspected individuals’. This was then retweeted by popular blogger Noemi Dado to her more than 11,000 followers. Pressed for clarification on what part of RA 10175 this assertion was based, @BishopLuc cited Section 12 of RA 10175 which reads…

SEC. 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. — Law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.

Traffic data refer only to the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of underlying service, but not content, nor identities.

All other data to be collected or seized or disclosed will require a court warrant.

Service providers are required to cooperate and assist law enforcement authorities in the collection or recording of the above-stated information.

The court warrant required under this section shall only be issued or granted upon written application and the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce and the showing: (1) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated hereinabove has been committed, or is being committed, or is about to be committed: (2) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that evidence that will be obtained is essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution of, or to the prevention of, any such crimes; and (3) that there are no other means readily available for obtaining such evidence.

The second paragraph of Section 12 clearly stipulates that no content or identities will be part of data collected by law enforcement agencies from service providers where no court order is served for that purpose. And where such a court order is to be issued, three conditions need to be met first.

Funny enough, @BishopLuc carried on and provided further “evidence” that the law is already being “abused” by the authorities. In a subsequent tweet, @BishopLuc cited as “evidence” an image uploaded to Facebook which had been going viral recently. The image supposedly captures comments made through a Facebook account operated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) warning people of the new powers and facilities the PNP will be wielding to apprehend users who use “foul words” against police officers.

On account of this “evidence” of the PNP’s “abuse” of the new Cybercrime Prevention Law being just a digital image, there is no way to determine whether the messages shown in it are authentic. The PNP recently denied posting such remarks on Facebook and clarified the official channels through which it disseminates official PNP communication to the public.

“The PNP categorically denies any official connection to a message which appeared in one particular Facebook account found by many to be offensive, threatening and malicious,” [PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr] said.

He noted PNP official statements such as press releases intended for public consumption are published in digital form through the official PNP website or Facebook under the account name pnp.pio.

“Further, said official statements can be released individually to our media friend both in hard and digital copies in the name of the PNP Public Information Office,” he said.

The irony that seems to fly over the heads of our would-be online “activists” is that it is precisely this sort of thing — passing off unverified information as fact and propagating unfounded or hearsay information — that measures such as the sections relating to libel within RA 10175, however supposedly flawed this law is purported to be, seeks to mitigate.

Even otherwise highly-educated lawmakers are not above making use of such fear-mongering tactics. Earlier, Senator Teofisto Guingona III reportedly claimed that “If you click like [on Facebook], you can be sued, and if you share, and continuously re-share information, you can also be sued.” Not surprisingly, this factoid also spread like wildfire across the social media landscape.

At the core of such fears is the notion that the advent of RA 10175 spells the end of “free speech” in the Philippines. It is around this notion that calls to “action” are being incited. The tagline of a group that calls itself the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA), for example, is “stop cyber martial law”. As of this writing a rally before the Philippine Supreme Court is being organised for Tuesday, the 2nd of October. The following is an excerpt from the preamble supposedly guiding this mass movement:

The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10175 threatens our basic rights and freedoms. This law works against ordinary netizens — bloggers, freelance writers, website owners, social network users. etc. — and disregards, among other things, our right to privacy and freedom of expression.

To safeguard these rights and freedoms, we, the members of the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA), ask you to leave the virtual world for a while, and join BLACK TUESDAY, a SILENT and PEACEFUL PROTEST against CYBER MARTIAL LAW.

Perhaps, rather than make such preambles required reading, people who are self-described advocates of freedom of information should, instead, encourage people to refer to reliable information on the subject and do their homework. Usually it helps to read what remains the most authoritative guide to the subject of Cybercrime prevention in the Philippines — none other than Republic Act 10175 itself which can be accessed here.


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29 Comments on "Republic Act 10175: Has ‘cyber martial law’ been declared yet?"

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The screenshot about the “abuse” is, as far as I know, authentic since I saw it myself not as a screenshot but an actual post.

The problem is that the page is not an official page by PNP, and they pointed this out by showing how their site has always been pointing to the Facebook profile page pnp.pio. I verified this by accessing

It could be worth noting that there is this “chain message” being spread by Filipino netizens via Facebook that reads: “Warning -any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or…the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile. You are hereby… Read more »

Inquirer-dot quotes deLima when she says for all Not-To-Worry about the CyberCrime Law because she Will Always Be Respectful of the Constitution. She didn’t say if Senator Sotto will also Be-Respectful and Tolerant. And she didn’t say what Dept-Justice will do next yeaar or when that that next time happens and Malakanyang invokes POLICE-POWERS because one more time, PresiNoynoy hears voices calling him to action.

Hyden Toro

To collect data on peoples’ activities in the internet is a Violation of their Privacy, already. Why do Police collect data and activities on internet Bloggers?

It is Patriotic for every Filipino, not to follow the CyberCrime Law. It is against their Freedom of Expression, and Freedom of Speech. Do not cooperate with any Police in giving data, activities , etc. of people who are Blogging in the internet. You don’t want to give them Ropes to hang you…do you?

oliver mia

I am seeing other posts such as below. I am not a legal expert. Do they have a point?

1. Should libel be a civil case and not a criminal one?

2. Is the longer penalty in Republic Act 10175 compared to REvised Penal Code justifiable?


The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Until a case is filed against somebody for committing cyberspace libel we’ll never know what really are the actual implication of the new law.
Right now, there is an on-going frenzy and confusion as well as suspicion as to what would be the unforeseen ramifications of the recently approved law against social media netizens, in particular, and the overall state of cyberspace in general.


Ang cybercrime law ay matagal na sa ibang bansa. Huling huli na
tayo sa Pilipinas
nagkaroon ngbatas na
ito. Yong mga hackers na nagagalit sa batas na
ito ay mga criminal na
dapat parusahan. Dapat nang magkaroon nito kasi yong mga criminal ay computer na ang gamit, hindi na baril.

TIto BoBo

██████████████████ [ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴇɴᴛ ʙʟᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ.] (ʀᴀ ɴᴏ. 10175)


@Jerrry what we are concerned is just a portion of the cybercrime law particularly in section (4).
You can be charged with libel with what you just posted here Jerrry. LOL

Thomas Jefferson
The tyranny of a very repressive cyber-crime law(emphasis on libel)will be given a hearing by the highest court in the land. The DOJ and law enforcement should not preempt the Supreme Court on this. Despite constitutional safeguards I fear for my relatives who are children and teenagers should the law be implemented. The brilliant and idealistic among them could be harassed or politically persecuted for their opinions, views and comments. The same could be said of senior citizens. Silencing people by jailing them, destroying their lives and future in exposing them to hardened criminals is not justice! This is not… Read more »
batang 641

para sa akin tama lang nag mag karoon tayo ng ganitong batas … hindi naman nawala ung freedom of expression natin.. masasabi mo parin naman ung gusto mong sabihin… ayon nga lang meron limitasyon… sa akin lang naman just think before you click…


@batang 641 it just shows your being naive.


Mas pag aaksayahan pa ba nila ng oras yan kesa sa dinami dami ng krimen at katuwalian d2 sa pinas?

Domingo Arong


Here’s the link to the report which “explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet.”

This is the 15 May 2011 United Nations Human Rights Council Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom, of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.

And here’s the link to the 07 June 2011 issue of Time concerning the La Rue U.N. Report with this headline:

“United Nations Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right”


all you talk, all you talk, why not comply! wtf


Is this really something to worry about?
Has anyone here heard of creating an on-line ‘personality’? In the event someone accusses you of on-line ‘SLANDER’,are you going to admit you did it?Someone got a hold of your PC and used it while you were not there? Facebook/internet entries are not admissible in court for this reason,no one really knows who typed the message,do they?
NO TO MENTION any type of ‘ENCRYPTION’ that utilizes VPN services type technology.Hide My Ass,Viper,Hide My Net are just three of 100’s of on-line servers that ‘HIDE’ people on-line.
Do not curse the darkness,light a candle instead.


Ang masasabi ko lang po,hindi maganda to kasi pano kung may gumamit ng facebook mo na ibang tao at ginamit nya sa masama O NAG POST SYA NG ANO-ANO AT NAG COMMENT NG MASAMA LABAG SA KAPWA NYA na di alam ng may ari, ang mapaparusahan ung tunay na maari na wala syang alam sa pangyayari.

Screenshots are the equivalent of hearsay unless backed by reputable data logs and timestamps. I used to work white hat security for major websites. We hate the term and find it repulsive, but for purposes of explaining what it is, most people call it “Paid Hacker” where we are hired and purposely find potential exploits and make recommendations in how to improve the system. To clarify, I am not a hacker, its more like a security guard making sure all the locks are in place for a client and point out weak areas. Every piece of evidence must be logged… Read more »

[…] greater sentence. There has been much criticism of the new law, with op-ed pieces of bother the pro and con variety published in Philippine media. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first […]