(UPDATE) The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a temporary restraining order against the highly controversial Cybercrime Prevention Law, following several petitions to amend or junk it.
In its en banc session Tuesday, SC barred the government from implementing the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act. The TRO is already in force, and will remain so for 120 days.
According to the TRO signed by SC Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the Office of the Solicitor General has 10 days to comment on petitions filed against the Cybercrime Law. The Supreme Court deliberated on 15 petitions asking it to void the Cybercrime Law and resolved to have them consolidated.
The Court has also set oral arguments on the petitions on January 15, 2013.
At the same time, the Department of Justice will follow the SC order to
put the implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act on hold, DoJ
Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday.
In a statement to reporters, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the temporary restraining order that the Supreme Court En Banc reportedly voted unanimously on was "an exercise of the power of judicial review."
"We respect and will abide by it," she said, practically confirming reports of SC's decision.
Reports quoting anonymous sources said the Court voted 14-0 to block the implementation of the law.
The Supreme Court Public Information Office told Yahoo! Southeast Asia however that it has yet to receive a copy of the TRO.
DoJ is one of the lead agencies tasked with implementing the controversial law. The law creates a DoJ office to focus on cybercrime and also gives it authority to monitor traffic and take down websites if it determines probable cause.
This authority is among the issues raised by petitioners who have asked the Supreme Court to declare the law, either in part or as a whole, unconstitutional.
Although the actual TRO has yet to be publicly released, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, one of the petitioners against the law called it "the first victory in our battle to defend our freedom and right of expression."
"This positive step forward is our permission to strengthen our protest and to also embrace our hope that this Supreme Court will be the court that truly defends the Constitution and the Filipino people," said Guingona, who voted against the Cybercrime bill at the Senate.
Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, a group opposed to the bill, meanwhile said, "here's one case where we'd like to see Secretary de Lima not defy the TRO."