Woman from Cebu First to be charged with online libel under cybercrime law. A woman from Cebu who allegedly maligned a single mother on a social networking site was the first person to be charged before the Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) for violating Republic Act (RA) No. 10175 otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Atara (not her real name) was indicted by the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office after it found probable cause that she committed libel in relation to RA 10175.
Bail was set at P10,000 for Atara who posted libelous messages against a certain Vangie on the latter’s Facebook account. The accused also called Vangie names like “cheap.”
In her complaint, Vangie said Atara sent her messages through cellular phone criticizing her for allegedly hurting a man on Sept. 16, 2013. It was further alleged that Vangie and this man were in an illicit affair.
When the accused threatened Vangie that she will post the libelous statements on Facebook, the latter deactivated her account. But Atara continued to malign the complainant.
When Vangie reactivated her Facebook account, she then was able to read the accused’s accusations against her.
According to Vangie, Atara posted the following statements against her:
This the counterfeiter, forger and a thief. A lot of cases will be coming out soon from Cebu. Beware of this woman!- Atara
Vangie then took pictures of the messages and included them in her complaint.
(She) clearly does not have any purpose in doing the acts I am complaining of against her except to malign my name, my person, and my business standing,- Vangie
RA 10175 was passed on Sept. 12, 2012 and the Supreme Court declared it constitutional last February 18, 2014, except the law’s three provisions on the automatic takedown clause, real-time collection of online data and on unsolicited commercial communication, like spam.
The High Court upheld the Internet libel provision but limited it to the author of the libelous statement and clarified that only original authors of libelous material are covered by the Cybercrime law, and not those who merely received or reacted to it.