Police to go after violators of cybercrime law

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LAW enforcers belonging to Northern Mindanao's anti-cybercrime unit are confident to go after violators of cybercrimes and other related acts involving the use of electronic gadgets and the internet.

Just recently, a person was arrested by authorities after he violated Republic Act 9995 or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009.

Police records showed that the suspect committed the illegal act, prompting law enforcers to confiscate several of his personal computer and accessories. Also taken from his possession were short firearms and live ammunitions. He was arrested in a raid at Corrales Avenue on May 29.


Inspector Janice Corazon Peniola, deputy head of the Philippine National Police-Anti Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) in Northern Mindanao, said the suspect, who is now out on bail, is facing two charges, one for violating Republic Act (RA) 9995 and the other for illegal possession of firearms.

The suspect, Peniola said, had allegedly blackmailed his ex-girlfriend to continue their relationship after he threatened the latter to spread to the internet her nude photos and their sex videos.

Peniola added the suspect allegedly accessed the photos and videos from the victim’s cellphone, which is connected to the internet via wireless fidelity or wifi, and forwarded them to his e-mail address.

The ex-girlfriend reported to police the incident, which led to the arrest of her former lover.

RA 995 defines photo or video voyeurism as the act of “taking photo or video coverage of a person or group of persons performing sexual act or any similar activity or of capturing an image of the private area of a person or persons without the latter's consent, under circumstances in which such person/s has/have a reasonable expectation of privacy, or the act of selling, copying, reproducing, broadcasting, sharing, showing or exhibiting the photo or video coverage or recordings of such sexual act or similar activity through VCD/DVD, internet, cellular phones and similar means or device without the written consent of the person/s involved, notwithstanding that consent to record or take photo or video coverage of same was given by such person/s.”

The law prohibits the taking of photo or video coverage of a person or group of persons performing sexual act or any similar activity.

RA 9995 also disallows the copying or reproduction, selling or distributing, and publishing or broadcasting in print, broadcast and other means, of such files or materials.

In an e-mailed statement, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Northern Mindanao said the cases are lodged at Branch 37 of the Regional Trial Court under Judge Jose Escobido.

Peniola said they encountered no hardship in arresting the suspect and were confident in carrying out the operation since the region’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG-10) was certain the charges against the perpetrator would be filed in court.

Before arresting the suspect and filing appropriate charges, “we made sure that there were no loopholes when we gathered the evidence,” Peniola told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Monday afternoon, adding the testimonies of the ACG examiners will be presented in court as they are considered as expert witnesses.

Controversial law

City Prosecutor Fidel Macauyag said the case was controversial as this is the first time that a violation of RA 9995 was acted upon by the PNP-ACG in the region since its inception late last year.

The ACG-10 was created on October 8, 2013, a few months after the first Anti-Cybercrime Group was organized in the country at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame March last year.

“This is its (ACG-10) ‘test case.’ This is the first time the police applied the technology and built up the case involving cybercrime,” Macauyag told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro on Monday.

Peniola said this will not be the first case the ACG-10 will be looking into, as the group has set its sights on other areas where possible violators may have been committing the illegal act.

Based on the group’s intelligence gathering, Peniola said they received reports of cybercrime offenders in other northern Mindanao cities like Gingoog and Ozamiz.

Aside from RA 995, ACG-10 is also tasked to go after offenders of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Among the cybercrime offenses included in RA 10175 are cyber-squatting, cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 15, 2014.

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