MANILA, Philippines — Authorities appear helpless in containing the wave of hacking incidents that has exposed the vulnerability of government websites.

The latest victims of the hackers, calling themselves Anonymous Philippines, are the websites of the Police Community Relations Group (PCRG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). The DILG, however, denied its website was defaced.

Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr., PNP spokesman, confirmed the hacking of the PCRG website yesterday.

The official said they have already advised their Information Technology experts to close down the operation of the PCRG website, http://www.pcrg.pnp.gov.ph, as part of the precautionary measure.

The hacking occurred while the PNP has ordered the investigation of the threatening messages against Facebook users using the PNP fan page on the popular social networking site.

Cerbo had earlier said that the Facebook account where the threatening messages were posted is fake.

In the wake of this raging online protests against the new cybercrime law, which takes effect today in the absence of a Supreme Court (SC) temporary restraining order, Malacañang appealed to the public to be a little patient and wait for the action of the High Tribunal and the lawmakers into proposed amendments to the controversial measure.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said several petitions have been filed by groups questioning the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

“I understand that the sixth or seventh petition has already been filed by Congressman (Raymond) Palatino in the Supreme Court so let us wait for the action of the Supreme Court,” Valte said in a Palace press briefing.

While the Palace continued to frown on hacking of government websites, Valte welcomed the active citizen engagement in asking their lawmakers to file the necessary amendments to the cybercrime law.

Some groups have staged protest actions against the law which supposedly violated netizens’ free expression in cyberspace. Other organizations resorted to hacking of several government websites in protest of the cybercrime law.

Earlier hacked were the websites of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and Food Development Center, among others.

Even the website of social news network Rappler was not spared. Hackers defaced the news network’s comments section.

“Some other netizens have resorted to engaging their legislators to file, and encouraging them to file amendments to the National Cybercrime Protection Act. Those are the venues that are not counterproductive,” Valte said.

“They are letting their representatives know their objections to certain parts of the bill and we will have to see. That is part of the legislative process that we will have to follow,” she added.

Dispelling speculations of an emerging e-martial law, Valte maintained that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will protect and uphold the rights of netizens guaranteed by the Constitution.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier admitted that she posed objections to certain provisions of the cybercrime measure, including the online libel, during the deliberation in Congress. But De Lima said she is now mandated to implement the law since it was signed by President Aquino.

Asked if the Palace had sufficient time to study the measure prior to signing, Valte said the President signed the cybercrime law upon the recommendation by concerned authorities. “You have to remember that we are also time bound, 30 days from transmittal,” she added.

Valte said it is up to the DOJ, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) if it will conduct a dialogue with stakeholders prior to the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations of the cybercrime law.

Apart from the non-issuance of a TRO, the SC deferred its deliberations on seven petitions filed against the cybercrime law to Tuesday next week.

Earlier, Secretary Leila de Lima of the Department of Justice (DoJ), the agency tasked to implement the new law under Republic Act No. 10175, had said the law will be implemented starting today unless it is declared unconstitutional by the SC. —with reports from Aaron B. Recuenco and Rey G. Panaligan

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/375681/more-gov-t-websites-hacked

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