By Perfecto T. Raymundo
MANILA, Aug. 12 (PNA) — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Wednesday said that the government will form a team of experts to go after cyber criminals.
In her speech during the launching and signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012 on Wednesday, De Lima said that the government had a lot of catching up to do against cybercrime offenders who had about three decades of head start.
“It’s about time that we, in the government, take that step to finally tackle them head on,” she said.
“It is our mandate to ensure that while crimes ought not to go unpunished, that wherever cyber criminals may be found, the full force of the law must apply,” De Lima said.
The team, De Lima said, would be cybercrime professionals “equipped with the requisite expertise, backed up by adequate resources and operating under an ethical framework to ensure that we can deliver justice.”
Last year, the Philippine National Police (PNP) recorded 614 cybercrime-related cases, 22 percent of them were scam-related, 16 percent involved cyber libel, 11 percent were on voyeurism, and 9 percent involved identity theft.
De Lima said that the capacity building also included the upgrading of the facilities and equipment of the respective anti-cyber crime unit of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the PNP and even the DOJ’s own Office of Cybercrime (OOC) headed by Assistant Secretary Geronimo L. Sy.
“We are building the capacity, the capabilities and facilities of the respective units of the NBI and the PNP. At the NBI, it is the Cyber Crime Division and of course, our DOJ’s Office of Cyber Crime is also being maintained as an umbrella unit that would also monitor both the NBI Cyber Crime Division and even the Philippine National Police (PNP) Cyber Crime Unit,” De Lima added.
Under the IRR of the said law, the NBI, together with the PNP shall create a cybercrime division to be headed by at least a head agent or a police director.
The “cyber police” has the authority to not only to investigate all cybercrimes but also conduct data recovery and forensic analysis on computer systems and other seized electronic evidence, formulate guidelines in investigation, forensic evidence recovery and forensic data analysis consistent with industry standard practices.
Aside from the law enforcement authorities, De Lima said, State prosecutors and even judges would also undergo capacity building and training on how to deal with cyber crimes.
“We have to train our prosecutors and even the judges. In fact, even before the launching today of the IRR, we have already included some capacity building for prosecutors and judges,” De Lima said.
She said that the IRR provides the legal framework that penalizes cyber crimes in its many evolving forms while laying out an effective strategy anchored on a regime of electronic evidence.
Likewise, De Lima assured the public who might have some concerns about the Cyber Crime Law that the government will do everything to protect civil liberties.
“Please be assured that government, the Departments here, will be equally vigilant in the protection of civil liberties be it on the streets, in justice processes, in the courts and on the web. This is one way where the citizen’s trust and confidence can be nurtured and grown,” De Lima said.
Last year, the Supreme Court (SC) upheld several provisions of the Cybercrime Law including online libel, while also striking down certain provision as unconstitutional, such as the controversial “takedown clause.”
Also present during the signing of the IRR are Departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Edwin Enrile, Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo, DOST Information and Communication Technology Office Executive Director Louis Casambre, DOJ Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy, officials of Microsoft Philippines and other advocates of the Cyber Crime Law. (PNA)