The Supreme Court will not stand in the way of the government's implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the subject of seven petitions assailing its constitutionality.
According to the Supreme Court Public Information Office on Tuesday, the Court "did not issue a TRO (temporary restraining order) in the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 petitions, which are up for further study."
The separate petitions argue that provisions on the Cybercrime Act violate the basic rights of freedom of speech, privacy, protection against illegal search and seizure, and against double jeopardy.
The Cybercrime Act imposes a penalty one degree higher on crimes--including libel--already covered by the Revised Penal Code.
It also gives the Department of Justice authority to take down websites and seize data without notice and hearing.
Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, one of the petitioners against the law, said the Cybercrime Act "lays down the basis for Big Brother to monitor our online activities."
"What is to stop government from monitoring emails, online transactions, and other online activities? And on the mere basis of due cause? It is an assault on our right to privacy," Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a press statement.
Four justices were absent at the En Banc session Tuesday: Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, and Mariano Del Castillo, all of whom are on official business, and Roberto Abad who is on leave.
Despite the absence of four justices, the SC En Banc session had a quorum of 10 members.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday announced a $1.8-billion military upgrade to help defend his country's maritime territory against "bullies", amid an ever-worsening dispute with China.