15th Congress

The Morphing of the Cybercrime Prevention Law

House Bill No. 5808

At least 11 bills related to cybercrime prevention were filed before the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress.

These were authored by Tarlac Rep. Susan A. Yap, Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric G. Singson Jr., Marikina City Rep. Marcelino R. Teodoro, Pampanga Rep. Gloria A. Macapagal-Arroyo, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo M. Angara, Pampanga Rep. Carmelo F. Lazatin, Buhay Party-List Mariano Michael M. Velarde Jr., Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez, and Antipolo City Rep. Romeo M. Acop.

Yap’s House Bill No. 5808 titled “Act Defining Cybercrime, Providing for Prevention, Investigation, Suppression, and Imposition of Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes” was later enacted into law as Republic Act No. 10175 on Sept. 12, 2012.

Feb. 9, 2012
Committee Report No. 01818 was submitted by the Committee on Information and Communications Technology, recommending its approval.

H.B. No. 5808 also substituted for H.B. Nos. 00085, 00167, 00364, 00383, 00511, 01444, 02279, 03376, 04031, and 04162.

Feb. 13, 2012
House Bill No. 5808 was referred to the Committee on Rules.

May 9, 2012
Sponsorship, interpellations, and amendments were made. Kabataan Party-List Rep. Raymond V. Palatino and ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio made interpellations. The bill was approved on second reading.

May 15, 2012
The bill was recommitted and reconsidered. The reconsidered measure was approved.

Remark of Bill History: “Adopted the Explanatory Note as the sponsorship remarks.”

May 21, 2012
The bill was approved on third reading with 211 “yeas” and zero “nay.”

May 23, 2012
House Bill No. 5808 was transmitted to and received by the Senate.

May 30, 2012
Date requested and agreed to form a conference committee. House of Representatives requested that the conference committee be convened.

June 4, 2012
House agreed on Conference Committee Report.

June 5, 2012
Senate agreed on Conference Committee Report.

Aug. 15, 2012
The bill was transmitted to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

Sept. 12, 2012
The bill was signed into law by the President.

Senate Bill No. 2796

May 3, 2011
Senate Bill No. 2796, House Bill No. 5808’s counterpart bill at the Senate, was prepared and submitted jointly by the Committees on Science and Technology, Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, Education, Arts, and Culture, Justice and Human Rights, Trade and Commerce, and Finance with Senators Antonio F. Trillanes IV, Edgardo J. Angara, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy P. Ejercito-Estrada, Lito Lapid, Manny Villar, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, and Ramon A. Revilla Jr. as authors per Committee Report No. 30.

Committee Report No. 30 also recommended its approval in substitution of Senate Bill Nos. 14, 52, 134, 275, 665, 828, 983, 1081, 1475, 1963, 2214, 2451, 2534, 2674, and 2721, taking into consideration S.R. Nos. 75, 164 and 254.

May 10, 2011
Committee Report Calendared for Ordinary Business. Report was transferred from the Calendar for Ordinary Business to the Calendar for Special Order.

May 11, 2011
Senator Edgardo J. Angara delivered a sponsorship speech. Senator Loren B. Legarda delivered a co-sponsorship speech. Legarda was also made co-author.

Sept. 12, 2011
Interpellations were made by Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Vicente Sotto III.

Dec. 12, 2011
Interpellations were made by of Senators Sotto, Teofisto Gunigona III, and Aquilino Pimentel III.

Dec. 13, 2011
Interpellation was made by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. Period of interpellation closed.

Jan. 24, 2012
Inquiries were made by Senators Guingona and Lacson. Period of individual amendments. (See Senate Journal No. 46)

(Sotto’s amendment re addition of libel was originally reported by Raissa Robles in her Sept. 18, 2012 article. Sotto has denied this, however.)

Preliminarily, Senator Sotto stated that there are numerous abuses in technology, particularly the video and photo uploading and unnecessary write-ups and comments in social networking systems. He read the definition of libel in Mendez vs. Court of Appeals (OR No. 124491, June I, 1999), to wit:

… a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead. Thus, the elements of libel are: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b) publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of malice.

Senator Sotto further cited the ruling in Laesa vs. Intermediate Appellate Court (161 SCRA 427) which states that:

Words calculated to induce suspicion are sometimes more effective to destroy reputation than false charges directly made. Ironical and metaphorical language is a favored vehicle for slander. A charge is sufficient if the words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose and understand that the person or persons against whom they were uttered were guilty of certain offenses, or are sufficient to impeach their honesty, virtue, or reputation, or to hold the person or persons up to public ridicule.

Further, Senator Sotto observed that the publication requirement in the crime of libel can be achieved by the mere fact that it is seen in cyberspace and this can further promote the habit of "think before you click." It is clear, he noted, that

cybercrimes are not covered under Article 355 of Revised Penal Code.

On page 6, line 37, as proposed by Senator Sotto and accepted by the Sponsor, there being no objection, the Body approved the insertion of a new paragraph, to wit:


Senator Angara pointed out that cyberspace is just a new avenue for publicizing or communicating a libelous statement which is subject to prosecution and punishment as defined by the Revised Penal Code.

Period of individual amendments closed.

The bill was approved on second reading with amendments.

Jan. 26, 2012
Printed copies were distributed to the Senators.

Jan. 30, 2012
The bill was approved on third reading with Senators Pia Cayetano, Estrada, Escudero, Honasan, Lacson, Lapid, Legarda, Marcos, Pimentel, Recto, Revilla, Sotto, and Villar in favor. Senator Guingona voted against the bill.

Jan. 31, 2012
The bill was sent to the House of Representatives requesting for concurrence.

May 30, 2012
Senate requested the House of Representatives for a conference on the disagreeing provisions of S.B. No. 2796 and H.B. No. 5808, designating Senators Angara, Santiago, Estrada, Marcos, Revilla, Trillanes, and Villar as its conferees to the Bicameral Conference Committee.

The House of Representatives accepted the request of the Senate for a conference on the disagreeing provisions of S.B. No. 2796 and H.B. No. 5808, and designated Representatives Tinga, Yap, Singson Jr., Angara, Rodriguez R., Sarmiento C., Arenas, Quimbo, Golez, Sarmiento M. and Arroyo D. as its conferees to the Bicameral Conference Committee on May 30, 2012.

June 4, 2012

Conference Committee Report was approved by the House of Representatives.

June 5, 2012
Conference Committee Report submitted to the Senate, recommending that S.B. No. 2796 in consolidation with H.B. No. 5808 be approved as reconciled.

Sponsorship speech on the conference committee report was made by Senator Angara.

Conference Committee Report was approved by the Senate.

July 31, 2012
Enrolled copies of the consolidated version of S.B. No. 2796 and H.B. No. 5808 were sent to the House of Representatives for the signature of the Speaker and the Secretary General.

Aug. 14, 2012
Enrolled copies of the consolidated version of S.B. No. 2796 and H.B. No. 5808, received by the Senate were already signed by the Speaker and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives.

Aug. 15, 2012
Enrolled copies of the consolidated version of S.B. No. 2796 and H.B. No. 5808 were sent to the Office of the President of the Philippines, through the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, for the signature and approval of the president.

Sept. 12, 2012
The consolidated version of S.B. No. 2796 and H.B. No. 5808 was approved and signed into law by the President and became Republic Act No. 10175.


Both H.B. No. 5808 and S.B. No. 2796 did not include libel as a “cybercrime offense” and did not enroll the double penalty clause.

The PCIJ could not find copies of the Senate bill with the amendment on libel, the consolidated version of the two bills before it was enacted into law, and bicameral committee conference report which would have indicated the changes made in the bill and the explanations given by the House and the Senate for the amendments.


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