Ever been massacred online? People get brutalized on social media and the body count is untold. Thanks to polarizing issues – Duterte’s rise to power, the unceasing extra judicial killings, and now the recent burial of former strongman Marcos – people have gotten vocal. The problem arises when others disagree. Here’s a potent example making the rounds
One can only imagine the relentless emotional battery and the ensuing loss of confidence. Have you been victimized?
The question arises: is there a remedy.
Indeed there is redress.
If The Cyberbullies are Ordinary Citizens
Assume that you are a supporter of President Marcos and you went to a rally in support of the burial at LNMB. Later you see crudely doctored images of yourself circulating with captions bearing four letter words. No need to suffer in silence. Every individual castigating you online is liable under Republic Act No. 10175, Otherwise Known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The following provisions of the implementing rules of the Cybercrime Prevention Act apply:
Sec 5. Sub Sec 3
3. Libel – The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel, as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future shall be punished with prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period or a fine ranging from Six Thousand Pesos (P6,000.00) up to the maximum amount determined by Court, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party: Provided, That this provision applies only to the original author of the post or online libel, and not to others who simply receive the post and react to it.
Section 7. Violation of the Revised Penal Code, as Amended, Through and With the Use of Information and Communication Technology. – All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special criminal laws committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of the Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.
The take away is that any violation of the Revised Penal Code (which includes Unjust Vexation, Grave Threats and the recently criminalized act of gossip) carries a heftier penalty when committed with the use of information technology. Post derogatory gossip and threats of rape on Facebook and you can go away for a very long time.
The steps for vindication include:
- Identification of your aggressors. This is easy on social media.
- Collation of evidence including screenshots of the offending material.
- Filing of complaint affidavit at the Office of Cybercrime at the Department of Justice.
If The Cyberbullies are Government Officials
Recently, horrific images of alleged police officers threatening rape against rallyists at anti-Marcos gatherings circulated on Facebook.
No one is above the law- and thankfully the proactive President Duterte provided a means to release records on matters of public concern. Find solace in Executive Order 2 series of 2016 or OPERATIONALIZING IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH THE PEOPLE’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO INFORMATION AND THE STATE POLICIES TO FULL PUBLIC DISCLOSURE AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND PROVIDING GUIDELINES THEREFOR.
EO 2 helps aggrieved parties obtain all government information necessary to file a complaint.
The following image circulated by the thousands and garnered a smattering of lewd comments- some allegedly uttered by police officers.
The steps to find redress for online harassment against suspected public officials
- Proceed to the government agency the suspected aggressor belongs to. If the aggressor is a known NBI agent, proceed to the NBI or the DILG.
- Issue a formal demand to the officer in charge invoking EO 2 Series of 2016 section 6 requesting all public data on the public officer while providing the grounds and objectives. You will not be charged a fee except for photocopy costs.
For Your Reference:
SECTION 9. Procedure. The following procedure shall govern the filing and processing of request for access to information:
(a) Any person who requests access to information shall submit a written request to the government office concerned. The request shall state the name and contact information of the requesting party, provide valid proof of his identification or authorization, reasonably describe the information requested, and the reason for, or purpose of, the request for information: Provided, that no request shall be denied or refused acceptance unless the reason for the request is contrary to law, existing rules and regulations or it is one of the exceptions contained in the inventory or updated inventory of exception as hereinabove provided.
(b) The public official receiving the request shall provide reasonable assistance, free of charge, to enable, to enable all requesting parties and particularly those with special needs, to comply with the request requirements under this Section.
(c) The request shall be stamped by the government office, indicating the date and time of receipt and the name, rank, title and position of the receiving public officer or employee with the corresponding signature, and a copy thereof furnished to the requesting party. Each government office shall establish a system to trace the status of all requests for information received by it.
(d) The government office shall respond to a request fully compliant with requirements of sub-section (a) hereof as soon as practicable but not exceeding fifteen (15) working days from the receipt thereof. The response mentioned above refers to the decision of the agency or office concerned to grant or deny access to the information requested.
(e) The period to respond may be extended whenever the information requested requires extensive search of the government office’s records facilities, examination of voluminous records, the occurrence of fortuitous cases or other analogous cases. The government office shall notify the person making the request of the extension, setting forth the reasons for such extension. In no case shall the extension go beyond twenty (20) working days unless exceptional circumstances warrant a longer period.
(f) Once a decision is made to grant the request, the person making the request shall be notified of such decision and directed to pay any applicable fees.
3. Proceed to the Department of Justice, Cybercrimes Division
4. File a complaint affidavit stating the facts, issues and plea for redress. Probable cause shall be determined, and if found, the parties shall be hailed to court.