Philippine law enforcers may soon have more teeth against dangerous crimes like drugs, money-laundering and coups, with a bill filed by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson allowing wiretaps against those involved in such cases
Lacson’s Senate Bill 48 seeks to amend Republic Act 4200 to include certain crimes where wiretapping may be deemed lawful under certain circumstances.
“(W)iretapping, though limited in its applications, has been an effective tool by our law enforcement agencies against criminal elements who have wreaked havoc, instability and lack of equanimity in our country to the detriment of many of our peace-loving citizens. Unfortunately, there are still certain crimes that are not covered under the said exceptional cases, which put not only the lives and property of our people in paramount danger, but also pose a grave threat to our nation’s security. The peace-and-order situation in the country gives testament to this fact and thus, it is imperative for us to revisit RA 4200 in order to further enhance its effectiveness,” he said.
Lacson’s bill seeks to add the following crimes to the list of offenses “wherein our law-enforcement officers can, through court order, tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record private communication or spoken word in order to strengthen the measures of the government and its law enforcement agencies in fulfilling its mandate of protecting life, liberty, and property against the malefactors in our society”:
- coup d’etat
- conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d’etat
- robbery in band
- brigandage/highway robbery
- violations of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002
- violations of RA 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001
Under the present law, instances where wiretapping is allowed includes treason, espionage, provoking war and disloyalty in case of war, piracy, mutiny in the high seas, rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, inciting to sedition, kidnapping and violations of Commonwealth Act No. 616, punishing espionage and other offenses against national security.
The Human Security Act of 2007 also included terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism to the list, provided it is with a written order from the Court of Appeals.