Computer Crime Research Center


Consolidated cybercrime bill faces tough battle in Congress

Date: April 23, 2008
By: Erwin Oliva

MANILA, Philippines -- Given the rice crisis in the country and high-profile bills pending in Congress, Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) chairman Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III believes that it would take a lot more effort to convince legislators that its consolidated cybercrime bill also needs attention.

“It will be tough to have it prioritized. We will have to convince legislators of its importance,” he told Tuesday.

The CICT chairman said the agency is working closely with the Department of Justice on the passage of the consolidated cybercrime bill.

“It's a collaborative effort. We're in the process of finalizing it,” said Roxas-Chua in a telephone interview, as he reacted to news that the DoJ was hoping to file a consolidated cybercrime bill at the House of Representatives this week as Congress resumes.

Roxas-Chua said there were four versions of the cybercrime bill filed at the House of Representatives. He added that the consolidated bill would contain definitions of cybercrime, punishment of such crimes and provisions on cooperation with the international community, among others.

Roxas-Chua, however, clarified that Congress has not yet deliberated on the consolidated cybercrime bill.

“We are just about to submit it,” he said, correcting speculations that the delay of the bill’s passage in Congress was due to inaction of the government agencies involved.

Last year, the DoJ created a task force to deal with cybersecurity issues in legislation and investigation. The group was created to pursue the e-government agenda, institutionalize a cybersecurity regime and implement laws. The task force worked closely with the Council of Europe, a private organization, and local experts composed of IT practitioners and other stakeholders.

Among the top priorities of the group was to work for the passage of the cybercrime prevention act, which failed to pass in the previous Congress. The task force was expected to work with the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police.

Also last year, the CICT, DoJ and the Council of Europe agreed to work together on the cybercrime bill.

So far, the country has convicted two hackers under the existing Republic Act No. 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Law.

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