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Click to Watch in HD > Sen. Lacson on EXPANDED ANTI-WIRETAPPING ACT OF 2016 | Senate Session | October 19, 2016
Watch Sen. Lacson on Anti-Wiretapping Bill | Senate Session | October 19, 2016
Mr. President, fellow members of this august chamber, I have the honor to report on the Senate floor Senate Bill No. 1210, entitled An Act Expanding the Scope and Coverage of Republic Act No. 4200, otherwise known as an Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping and other Related Violations of the Privacy of Communication, and for Other Purposes, as embodied in Committee Report No. 4, in substitution of Senate Bills 21, 48, 871 and 950.
Whereas, under the 51-year-old law, only the crimes of treason, espionage, provoking war and disloyalty in case of war, piracy, mutiny in the high seas, rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, inciting to sedition, kidnapping, violations of Commonwealth Act No. 616, punishing espionage and other offenses against national security are covered, we are proposing in our amendment of Section 3 of RA 4200 to also permit the performance of otherwise declared unlawful acts in cases involving:
1. Coup détat, Conspiracy and Proposal to commit Coup détat;
2. Robbery in band as defined and penalized by Articles 294, 295, 296, 299 and 302 of the Revised Penal Code;
3. Brigandage/Highway Robbery;
4. Violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002;
5. Violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.
Though inclusion of additional crimes may appear to open wider gates towards the curtailment of the right to privacy, I encourage our distinguished colleagues to view the said amendment rather as a vital tool in enhancing crime prevention and suppression. Further, the proceeds of judicial wiretapping will definitely strengthen the evidence against apprehended criminals when they are brought before the bar of justice.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. True. That is why we also include by way of amendment a significant increase in penalties to ensure accountability for covert surveillance practices and abuses by law enforcement or military officers, authorized or not, and even by private individuals.
Our amendments, Mr. President, would show that we intend to provide stricter and more detailed provisions with respect to the application and grant of authority to ensure that rights can only be interfered if directed towards a legitimate claim in the interest of public safety and security.
In order to be allowed to wiretap, intercept, surveil or record communications, prior authorization from the Regional Trial Court is required and shall be granted only upon proof:
(1) That there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated in Sec. 3 has been committed or is being committed or is about to be committed;
(2) That there are reasonable grounds to believe that the evidence that will be obtained is essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution of, or to the prevention of, any of such crimes; and
(3) That there are no other effective means readily available for obtaining such evidence.
To ensure a system of checks and balances, the role of our courts shall not be limited to the issuance of authority, but shall extend even after the implementation of its order by being the depository of whatever it is to be obtained by virtue of said authorization and also by requiring another order for the opening and use of the materials deposited therein, with notice and opportunity to be heard to the individual/s subject of the court authorization.
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