Justice chief tells law enforcement agencies to beef up cybercrime units

THE GOVERNMENT should improve strategies in combating cybercrime, especially with the continuing quarantine restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said. “It is expected that during these pandemic times, where direct personal interactions are reduced, more crimes will be committed in cyberspace,” he told reporters via Viber, “It is therefore imperative that law enforcement agencies beef up their cybercrime units, upgrade their technologies, and enhance their investigative capabilities.” Mr. Guevarra said the cybercrime focus should be on frauds, financial crimes, online exploitation of women and children, and human trafficking, among others. The Department of Justice (DoJ), in a statement Sunday, said the top three most prevalent crimes in the Philippines from March to June 2020 were phishing, online selling scam, and “proliferation of misinformation that tends to cause panic among the public.” In May, the DoJ also reported that cases of online sexual exploitation of children from March to May 2020, when strict lockdown was implemented, reached 279,166, more than triple the 76,561 cases reported last year. Justice Undersecretary Markk L. Perete said cases of phishing, online scams and fake news were more than the cases of sexual exploitation of children. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

Comelec resumes case proceedings

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) will reopen this week for physical submission of pleadings and other court submissions under a skeletal workforce, and allow video conferencing for hearings. During the strict quarantine period, election-related complaints were only accepted through electronic filing. In Resolution No. 10673 promulgated on June 25, the Comelec approved the resumption of the following processes: filing of pleadings, comments, motions, briefs, or memoranda; setting of raffle of cases, hearings, preliminary conferences, and marking of exhibits; scheduling of inventory and recount of election contests; promulgation of resolutions; and payment of administrative fines. Hearings/investigations/inquiries, including preliminary conferences and marking of exhibits can be done through video conference except for cases on election offense. — Gillian M. Cortez