Swindling tops list of cybercrime cases in Philippines—PNP

Swindling tops list of cybercrime cases in Philippines—PNP

THE instances of cybercrime in the country have risen based on the report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the last quarter of 2023.

Police General Benjamin Acorda, Jr., the Chief of the PNP, stated that cybercrime cases, particularly online scams, have witnessed a significant increase.

“It’s more on online scams. So, it’s more of an awareness for our fellow citizens or the public about this scheming done by criminals over the internet,” according to PGen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., Chief, PNP.

Acorda added that while they have identified scammers from other countries, there are more cases of localized scamming carried out within the Philippines.

Among the top 5 cybercrimes in the country are swindling or estafa, topping the list, followed by illegal access, identity theft, online libel, and credit card fraud.

Despite this, the PNP chief stressed that the SIM Card Registration Law plays a significant role in their investigations.

During a sectoral meeting at Malacañang on Tuesday morning, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. ordered the strengthening and improvement of the cybersecurity systems of the PNP.

This involves training the police force and acquiring technology to address cybercrime and enhance cybersecurity in the country.

Acorda mentioned that in 2023, the PNP trained a total of 487 police officers to respond to cybersecurity.

They also plan to expand the reach of their training to every police station using their 2024 budget.

“Our cybercrime group is only up to the regional level. But this time, we are training our personnel, and our objective is that down to the police station level/municipal level, we will have police officers who are trained to handle cybercrime or online crimes,” Acorda added.

On the other hand, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. shared the economic impact of cybercrime.

“In the worldwide context, I think it’s $3 trillion every year– loss due to cybercrimes. I remember the President mentioned those figures earlier. I remembered what he said because, by that alone, you can see that even historically, before us, the big crime was always theft. Theft has been overtaken by cybercrime,” according to Sec. Benjamin Abalos Jr., DILG.

Despite the continuous increase in cybercrime in the Philippines, the PNP reported to the President a 10.66% decrease in the overall crime rate in the country from July 2022 to January 2024.

The PNP’s operations against illegal drugs, loose firearms, electronic or e-sabong, illegal gambling websites, and the fight against communist terrorist groups continue.

Rift deepens as Senate, House clash on economic Cha-Cha

The rift between the Senate and the House over Charter Change (Cha-Cha) is deepening over the Economic Charter Change.

On Monday, February 5th, hearings on the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6 commenced in the Senate, in a bid to ease the economic restrictions of the 1987 Constitution to open up the Philippine economy to foreign investors.

However, senators are adamant and view October as the deadline for hearings.

But the House opposed this move.

According to House Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe, the chances of Economic Cha-Cha passing will become slim if it reaches October, which is the time for filing candidacies for the 2025 mid-term elections.

 “What we are afraid of— I will be direct— is that the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy of all officials running for the mid-term will be in October,” according to Rep. Jose Dalipe, House Majority Leader.

Dalipe also emphasized the importance of passing the amendment to the constitution in the first half of the Marcos administration.

He mentioned that in their experience, it has never happened in Philippine history that Cha-Cha discussions have occurred in the last three years of the incumbent president’s term.

“For example, the Senate is a bit busy with their investigations, what more here in the House? When it comes to it, the campaign fever will hit before October and that is our worry. So we would want to fast track it. If possible, now,” Dalipe added.

Meanwhile, congressmen are furious with senators over the issue of the People’s Initiative (PI).

According to Senator Imee Marcos, it’s clear from the evidence that Speaker Martin Romualdez is behind PI.

For Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, the true meaning of PI is Politicians Initiative, not People’s Initiative.

“In our all-member caucus held last week, our fellow congressmen expressed intense anger. They are angry about the disrespect shown by some senators, our speaker, and the House of Representatives,” according to Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, Senior Deputy Speaker.

Senators are criticized for belittling their mandate.

The House also criticized senators for comparing their votes with those of congressmen in elections.

Gonzales proudly stated that many congressmen today are running unopposed.

“So if you are going to extrapolate the numbers you garner and the numbers we garnered, our percentage is higher. If you are unopposed, meaning to say 100% of your entire constituency love and respect you,” Gonzales added.

To clarify matters, Majority Leader Dalipe challenged the senators to publicly declare who among them is in favor or against updating the Constitution, especially since all proposals to change or amend the Constitution are considered dead on arrival in the Senate.

“Who among the senators is in favor of amending to update the 37-year-old constitution and who is against, and the people of the Philippines will decide whom to put in the Senate,” Dalipe said.


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