Friday, May 31, 2024

PH criminal justice system ‘too archaic? for cybercrime prosecution: NBI

By Tom Noda

The Supreme Court may have just given the go-signal to the Cybercrime Law, but enforcing it is an entirely different matter. This is according to an agent from the cybercrime division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), who described the country?s criminal justice system as ?too jurassic? to combat cybercrime.

Joey Narciso, Special Investigator III of the NBI's cybercrime division, speaks during the cybercrime forum in Makati City
Joey Narciso, Special Investigator III of the NBI’s cybercrime division, speaks during the cybercrime forum in Makati City

Joey Narciso, Special Investigator III of the NBI’s cybercrime division, made the comment during his talk at a cybercrime forum conducted by Microsoft Philippines on Friday, March 7 at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City.

“Cybercrime, being a high tech crime, poses a lot of challenges for the general public, law enforcers, prosecutors and judges,” Narciso told forum audience composed of representatives from the ICT Office of the DOST, Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PhCert), among others.

“Cybercriminals are experts and they continue to be better everyday. [But] our prosecutors, not everyone is trained in digital forensics and handling digital evidence,” Narciso said.

The NBI agent said digital evidence has a lot of attributes that are far different from traditional evidence that most prosecutors in the Philippines usually handle.

Narciso said he would always explain to judges the nature of cybercrime whenever he would apply for search warrants for them to understand. “That’s how jurassic our courts are,” he said.

However, Narciso said the top problem that the country faces involving cybercrime is jurisdictional issues.

“Cybercrime transcends international borders. They can be committed somewhere outside our jurisdiction. For countries with extradition treaties, we might find it difficult to investigate or be allowed to at least investigate cybercrime-related offenses,” Narciso said.

David Finn, executive director and associate general counsel of the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), took part in the event and shared a presentation on the challenges in preventing digital crimes and global case studies.

In an interview with, Finn said Microsoft’s DCU team works with law enforcements around the world and performs disruptive moves to take profit out of the hands of cybercriminals.

“Cybercrime is a stronger, more significant threat that it has ever before,” Finn said. “But we’re better now than it has ever been.”

According to Finn, there’s a strong deterrent value in what Microsoft does. He cited a case wherein botnets created by cybercriminals were busted by law enforcement agents, with those responsible for the crime eventually sent to jail.

Botnets, as defined by computer anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab, refer to a group of Internet-connected computers that are controlled by a single or a group of cybercriminals with the devious purpose of sending out spam to as many computers as possible.

Botnets are also used for denial-of-service (DOS) on websites to slow or take down the website.

For the Philippines, Narciso said awareness on cybercrime is essential not only for law enforcers, prosecutors, and judges but also the public in general.

“It’s good to know that there are provisions in the Philippine law urging the establishments of cybercrime courts,” he said.

Narciso said Department of Justice assistant secretary Geronimo Sy, who is an expert in technology law, is planning to assign dedicated cybercrime prosecutors to handle cybercrime cases in cybercrime courts.

“We need help. The government cannot act and address these issues alone,” Narciso said.


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