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House bill on wiretapping okayed

 

By CHARISSA M. LUCI-ATIENZA

 

The House Committee on Danger­ous Drugs has approved a substitute bill seeking to authorize wiretapping in cases of coup d’etat, drug trafficking, robbery, syndicated illegal recruitment, and viola­tions of the country’s anti-graft and anti-Money laundering laws.

The House panel, chaired by Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers unanimously passed the unnumbered bill on Tuesday morning at the sidelines of the panel’s probe on the P6.8 billion shabu smug­gling in the country.

The substitute bill was submitted by Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop, chairman of the technical working group tasked to consolidate the eight measures seeking to amend the Republic Act (RA) 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act, for the mother committee’s approval. The bill amends the Republic Act (RA) 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act.

Acop said the TWG agreed to adopt the penalty of six months to six years of im­prisonment without the benefit of proba­tion against the violators of the proposed Act.

He said they included other crimes in which law enforcers shall be allowed to wiretap. These include coup d’etat, con­spiracy and proposal to commit coup d’etat, robbery in band as defined and penalized by Articles 294, 295, 296, 299 and 302 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 532, others known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974; violation of Re­public Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; violation of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act; syndicated illegal recruitment, and violations of Republic Act 9160, other­wise known as the Anti-Money Launder­ing Act of 2001.

RA 4200 only authorizes law enforcers to wiretap in cases involving the crimes of treason, espionage, provoking war and disloyalty in case of war, privacy , mutiny in the high seas, rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, incit­ing to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, inciting to sedition, and kidnapping.

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