OPINION: DOJ uses wrong law to justify charging Maria Ressa with cyber libel beyond 1-year prescriptive period

Journalist Maria Ressa was hauled off to detention, based on a Department of Justice resolution which said the period for filing a cyber libel complaint has not lapsed.

The DOJ resolution clearly stated that: “Under R.A. No. 3326, which governs the prescription of offenses punished by special laws, such as RA No. 10175, the prescriptive period of the offense charged is twelve (12) years (Sec. L (d), R.A. No. 3326, as amended). Clearly the 19 February 2014 publication has not prescribed.”

Now let us dissect this piece of legal shorthand. What the DOJ wrote in its resolution is that Republic Act No 3326 lays out the period during which criminal complaints have to be filed after an offense is committed. Claiming that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA No. 10175) is a “special law”, it stated that 12 years is the prescriptive period during which the charge of cyber libel has to be filed, as found in RA 3326.

Since the article which is the cause of the criminal complaint was revised on February 19, 2014, “clearly” [this] has not prescribed, the DOJ said.

Sounds impressive, right?

Except that RA No. 3326 IS THE WRONG LAW TO CITE when it comes to prescriptive periods of crimes. RA 3326 is a 1961 law creating additional posts for fiscals or prosecutors. ..Read More..

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