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THE government will form a team of experts to go after cyber criminals.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in her speech Wednesday during launching and signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulation of the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012, said the government has 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,” de Lima said.
“It is our mandate to ensure that while crimes ought not to go unpunished, that wherever cybercriminals may be found, the full force of the law must apply,” she said.
The team, de Lima said, will be anti-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 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 the capacity building also includes the upgrading of the facilities and equipment of the respective anti-cybercrime unit of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police and even the DOJ’s own Office of Cybercrime headed by Assistant Secretary Geronimo 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,” she 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 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 cybercrimes.
“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,” she said.
De Lima said the IRR provides the legal framework that penalizes cybercrimes in its many evolving forms while laying out an effective strategy anchored on a regime of electronic evidence.
At the same time, de Lima assured the public who might have some concern 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,” she explained.
Last year, the high court 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 are Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Edwin Enrile, Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, DOST Information and Communication Technology Office Louis Casambre, Justice Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy, officials of Microsoft Philippines and other advocates of the Cyber Crime Law.