Anti-wiretapping law amendment needed to go after drug lords – DBB

Jun A. Malig
Anti-wiretapping law amendment needed to go after drug lords – DBB
The amendment seeks to update the law to be attuned to existing technologies

PAMPANGA, Philippines – A 51-year-old Anti-Wiretapping Law needs to be amended and tuned to current situations and existing technologies so the government can better chase drug lords.

This was the message of Secretary Benjamin Reyes, chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DBB), during an action planning session on anti-illegal drug programs with village chiefs in this province at the City of San Fernando on Thursday, February 16.

Reyes was confident the bill seeking to amend Republic Act 4200, the Anti-Wiretapping Law, would be passed by the Senate.

He explained, “The bill defines the current technologies that can be applied to its provisions. It also protects the right of individuals because it specifies the crimes that can be wiretapped. It cannot be used for something like ‘I just want to hear what Rappler is saying,’ that can’t be done.” 

The Anti-Wiretapping Law from June 19, 1965 refers only to devices such as the “dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder” which can be used to secretly overhear, intercept, or record communications.

Senate Bill. No. 1210, the Expanded Anti-Wire Tapping Act of 2016, seeks to amend this by referring to “any mode, form, kind or type of electronic, mechanical or other equipment or device or technology now known or may hereafter be known to science” that can be used to wiretap, intercept, overhear, listen to, screen, read, surveil, and record or collect private communications, conversations, discussions, data, information, and messages.

The following crimes are exempted from anti-wiretapping coverage:

  • treason
  • espionage
  • provoking war and disloyalty in the case of war
  • piracy
  • mutiny on the high seas
  • rebellion
  • conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion
  • inciting to rebellion
  • sedition
  • conspiracy to commit sedition
  • inciting to sedition
  • kidnapping

The Senate bill seeks to add the following to the exemptions:

  • coup d’etat
  • conspiracy to commit coup d’etat
  • robbery in band
  • highway robbery
  • money laundering
  • violation of the anti-illegal drugs law

Reyes said some 30% of villages all over the country are affected by illegal drugs. He clarified, however, that the DBB is still using 2015 data pending the availability of new data after the Duterte administration waged an all-out war against illegal drugs. –

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