DOJ wants 10 special courts for cybercrimes

Posted at 04/16/2014 6:24 PM | Updated as of 04/17/2014 9:54 AM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) is confident that the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act will prevail over the motions for reconsideration (MR) filed by the petitioners who asked the Supreme Court (SC) to nullify the law.

Which is why the DOJ has written the high court, through Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, in February, days after the high court affirmed the legality of the controversial legislation, to request for the designation of at least 10 special courts dedicated to try cybercrime cases.

"We have already written the good Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to request for the creation of cybercrime courts especially trained, especially equipped.

"We don't need a lot of them, probably ten cybercrime courts nationwide, in major cities where cybercrime is most prevalent; then from there, we will scale it up," Justice Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy, head of the DOJ Office on Cybercrime, told reporters on Wednesday.

Sy said they are eyeing as priority areas the National Capital Region (NCR), Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and two areas up north still to be finalized.

There will be a need to conduct special trainings on the new law, as well as technical trainings for judges and public prosecutors alike, according to the DOJ.

"Cybercrime is a very specialized form of crime: your evidence is in logs, IP address -- these are things not commonly accessible to any judge whose training is judicial," Sy said.

The DOJ will also allocate budget for the training of media men who cover the justice and court beats, so that they, too, can be better equipped to report on cybercrime cases.

PRIORITIZE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, HACKING

Consultations with stakeholders are ongoing on the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the new law. The justice department had to amend the IRR after the high court struck down several of the law's provisions as unconstitutional.

Four public consultations have been staged, and two more set to be scheduled.

The DOJ will prioritize the prevention and prosecution of cybercrimes such as child pornography, "sextortion" cases, and hacking and online fraud.

Institutional changes will also be prioritized in order to ensure that the public is secure from cyberspace offenders.

The department will also put up ad hoc teams in areas where there is a noted upsurge in the commission of cybercrimes, in order to speedily respond to these cases.

Since the high court affirmed the constitutionality of the law on Feb 18, at least one cybercrime complaint per day has been filed with the DOJ, according to Sy.