Amendment to anti-wiretapping law hurdles House on final reading

The House of Representatives on Monday, November 26, approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to amend Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act to exclude cases of coups, drugs, robbery, money laundering, and other crimes.


Voting 216-0, the chamber passed House Bill 8378, which aims to enhance crime detection and investigation of organized and syndicated crimes.

The bill seeks to allow law enforcers to intercept private communication involving such crimes as coup d’état, as well as conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d’état; robbery in band; syndicated illegal recruitment; violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.

The bill states that: “It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by any party to any oral, wire, radio, digital or electronic private communication, to tap, intercept or record such communication with the use of any electronic, mechanical, digital or analog phone system, or similar devices.”

The bill also prohibits public telecommunication entities and other similar enterprises engaged in the business of voice and data transmission to retain data for more than one year, except those records of voice and data that are subjects of pending cases.

RA 4200 safeguards the constitutional right to privacy of communication. It prohibits and penalizes wiretapping and other related violations of the privacy of communication.

The law exempts from penalty wiretapping in cases involving 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 as defined by the Revised Penal Code, and violations of Commonwealth Act 616, punishing espionage and other offenses against national security. — Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)

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