Santiago Files Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, principal sponsor of SBN 3327

(Update 14 Nov 2012: SBN 3327 official PDF from Senate official website embedded below.)

Constitutional rights shall not be diluted in the Information Age.

This is the guarantee sought to be galvanized by Senate Bill 3327, filed on November 12, 2012, by the eminent constitutionalist and international law expert Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago. In what is a first in Philippine legislative history, the provisions of the bill authored by Senator Santiago draw directly upon the suggestions of Filipino netizens solicited through online “crowdsourcing”. The proposed measure seeks to address not only the protection of  but also the establishment of the rights of Internet users in the Philippines. Also, guided by the expert knowledge of the diverse set of IT and legal specialists who advised on the bill, SBN 3327 seeks to establish a sensible, fact-oriented and balanced environment that defends Filipinos against against cybercrimes and cyberattacks.

Senate Bill 3327 is titled, appropriately enough, “An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity.” Also known as the MCPIF to the netizens whose views helped shape the Bill, the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom is anchored on:

a. Rights
The MCPIF protects the civil and political rights of Filipinos, recognizing and asserting our guaranteed constitutional rights in cyberspace. Economic rights and consumer rights, especially as affected by the use of the Internet and information and communications technology (ICT), are also promoted and upheld.

b. Governance
The MCPIF promotes ICT in governance, translating into an empowered citizenry, a more efficient and responsive government, and more effective use and distribution of resources.

c. Development
The MCPIF provides government agencies with the mandate and the means to harness ICT for national development, thus promoting Philippine economic growth and ensuring Filipinos remain competitive in the information age.

d. Security
The MCPIF prepares Philippine law enforcement agencies and the armed forces for the current and emerging security challenges of the information age. It equips law enforcement with the capability to prevent, detect, and respond to cybercrime. With bolstered national defense and intelligence capabilities made possible through the MCPIF, the Philippines will be able to protect its critical infrastructure, reducing its vulnerability to attacks by cyber-terrorists and rogue or enemy states.

SBN 3327 has been referred to the Committee on Science and Technology for deliberations. It is expected that in the same spirit that animated the crafting of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, legislative deliberations will be enhanced by the active participation of the citizens online, and the other ICT stakeholders. The Internet has facilitated an unexpected next step in participatory democracy, and the forthcoming legislative process will harness that power.

SBN 3327 – An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, and Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity

[scribd id=113187011 key=key-yeze4eq6waidnxz1mpa mode=scroll]

(Photo credit: Senate official website,

(PDF credit: Senate official website,

Pierre Tito Galla

  • Okay, I’ve gone throught the sections of the text that are important to me as a blogger, intellectual property rights and libel, and find this is a much more reasonable document than the thuggish Cybercrime Law. Material published is automatically copyrighted, and violations to intellectual ownership are subject to penalty commensurate with damages plus legal costs. This is a reasonable provision, limiting likely cases to clear damages that are significant. Not nuisance cases. It advocates free speech rather than suppresses it.

    Punishment for libel is commensurate with damages, and the plaintiff has to prove malice. Public figures are not immune to criticism. This, too, is reasonable and favors free speech.

    What a terrific amount of work and thought has gone into this document. I personally greatly appreciate the effort others have made on my blogging behalf.

    It will be interesting to see how this tracks through Congress. What will happen regarding the standing Cybercrime Law, being held by TRO? How do the two get reconciled?

    • There is a provision in the bill that repeals the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 in its entirety.

      • Great, my eyeballs were probably fried by the tme I got to that section, so I missed it.

        I shall put Senator Santiago on my “vote for” list until the next time she starts ranting about the VFA.

  • nitesoul

    VERY GOOD! at least here, it was put on by several people who knows better than the senate itself.

  • Kudos Jester, Cocoy and the rest who worked on the draft!

  • cocoy

    We have a copy of the text. We’re waiting for the actual filed version. We’re told the Senate may have it up on site by tomorrow or day after. The bill has been in the works for months now. There was a Facebook page on it where Netizens got together for the draft. It is a very long read.

  • UPnnGrd

    Hey… kindly publish the text. I want to know what you read that you liked. Right, I can’t forget that we are talking about the despicable BRENDA, she who said adamantly that the CJ-Corona impeachment charges violated some Constitution-paragraph or two…. so publish the text, this is BRENDA whose picture you put on the web.

    • cocoy

      UPnnGrd link to the text is on this page. It is also available on the Senate Website now.

      • UPnnGrd

        Thanks for the link.

  • Nice high school photo of the Senator. Okay, where’s the text? I google it and get referred to a facebook site. The site says it is closed, time to move on. They refer me to a web site. It says “future home” and is stuffed with ads and no content. I go to other links, nada. Another blog site, stuffed with ads. The development is a mystery to me and I issue a blog every day, actively read in the Philippines. Is this the way the amazing internet is supposed to work?

    Man, like publish the text, eh?

    • we’ll get you the scanned PDF from the Senate. stay tuned. 🙂

    • cocoy

      The site is going up soon.

    • here you go, joe.

      • Thanks. Be back to you once I have read it and committed it to memory.

    • cocoy

      Pierre edited the entry and you should be able to view the scribd version.