Grace Poe: Allow authorities to wiretap for anti-drug ops

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday, February 3, sponsored Senate Bill 2139, seeking to exempt law enforcement agencies from the anti-wiretapping law.

Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said the measure seeks to amend Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law to strengthen the government’s ability to prosecute drug cases.

The law is necessary, the senator said, as drug syndicates continue to increase and have become “more apparent and cunning” in getting away with their crimes. (READ: A look at the state of crime, drugs in the Philippines)

“Wiretapping has been used to solve major crimes, such as terrorism and drug trafficking, in the United States. Wiretapping has helped established the flow of drugs and the structure of syndicates and how they are managed from the source to the market,” Poe said in her speech. 

RA 4200 only allows authorized “peace officers” to wiretap conversations in cases involving crimes of treason, espionage, disloyalty during war, piracy, rebellion, conspiracy, sedition, and kidnapping, among others.

SB 2139 seeks to expand the exemptions by also allowing law enforcement agencies to tap into conversations, as long as it is for anti-illegal drug operations.

In 2015, the Department of Justice made a similar proposal to fight drug syndicates. (READ: DOJ suggests wiretapping to fight drug syndicates)

“The heads of syndicate and financiers are not exposed during criminal activity. It is not easy to prove their participation in trade, but recorded conversations can establish their involvement,” Poe said. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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