In preparation for the Oral Arguments set on 15 January 2013, PIFA’s legal team is currently writing a ―legal brief – a scholarly legal document much longer and more comprehensive than PIFA’s 61-page petition – something the high court will ask for eventually from all petitioners.
Before the Supreme Court can ―go into the merits – that is, look into the petition’s substantive arguments – the magistrates must first rule on the petition’s procedural arguments. PIFA’s legal team is working on expounding on the following arguments:
Procedure: Why must the Supreme Court take up the petition & not dismiss it?
1. Actual harm on Filipino netizens began when Cybercrime Prevention Act took effect on Oct. 3, placing them all under 24/7 warrantless electronic surveillance.
2. Any amendment to RA 10175 that Congress introduces later will not be enough because the substantive issues can be repeated, yet evade judicial review.
Substance: Why must the Supreme Court grant the petition & strike down RA 10175?
PIFA’s petition presents seven arguments, scoring the Cybercrime Prevention Act as unconstitutional for:
1. Unduly abridging free speech & expression, and press freedom
2. Authorizing unreasonable searches and seizures
3. Violating Internet user’s privacy
4. Being contrary to equal protection of the law
5. Violating legal obligations under public international law
6. Punishing certain acts previously allowed back when these were committed in the past (ex post facto law)
7. Curtailing the speedy disposition of suits by clogging the court dockets with a deluge of frivolously filed cases
PIFA filed the fifteenth petition against Republic Act (RA) 10175 on 08 Oct. 2012, after Bayan party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares and the National Press Club filed theirs separately that same day.