DoJ backs PHL accession to Cybercrime Convention but...

Posted on May 16, 2016

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) has lent its legal backing to the Philippines’ proposed accession to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

Responding to a query by Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Jose A. de Vega, the DoJ in a two-page opinion dated April 27 affirmed the Budapest Convention’s provisions are consistent with the country’s laws.

The opinion, signed by Justice Secretary Emmanuel L. Caparas, noted that the provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10175) already jibes with the international treaty’s provisions.

It said the treaty’s concern about the dangers of electronic criminal activities is “clearly embodied” in the cybercrime law’s declaration of policy. It added the law also punishes acts deemed by the treaty to be criminal offenses.

“These offenses are basically a reiteration of the offenses and crimes mentioned in the Convention, albeit in a detailed manner, and mandated to be adopted by parties thereto,” the opinion read.

At the same time, it noted that the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in the case of Disini vs. the Secretary of Justice sustained the cybercrime law as valid and constitutional.

This point prompted the DoJ to say “the Convention has no apparent inconsistencies with our law.”

However, Mr. Caparas called for a further study of a provision in the Budapest Convention allowing the extradition of cybercrime suspects even if the requesting party does not have an extradition treaty with the Philippines.

“We may unwittingly expose ourselves to unintended consequences among which is that unqualified adoption of the Convention may bind the Philippines to this commitment with respect to future parties, under circumstances beyond our current intention or contemplation,” the opinion cautioned. -- Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato