The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill that would allow wiretapping in cases involving the trafficking of illegal drugs.
House Bill 6107 exempts drug-related cases from the restrictions under Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act.
“There is an urgent need to equip our drug law enforcers with the capability to stop the drug menace at its very core, to cut the roots of the drug syndicates and convict drug lords and not just the peddlers,” said Iligan Representative Vicente Belmonte, the chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs and principal author of the bill.
The measure was also authored by Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer of the National Unity Party (NUP), along with Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil and ACT-CIS Rep. Samuel Pagdilao.
HB 6107 authorizes law enforcers to wiretap, intercept, and record the communications and surveillance of pushers, manufacturers, cultivators, importers and financiers of dangerous drugs.
Under the measure, law enforcement agencies will be able to wiretap individuals or organizations by securing a court order from the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the case.
The law will cover wire, oral, and all forms electronic communication.
In the Philippines, the illegal drug trade is worth billions of pesos every year. In 2014 alone, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has conducted 16,939 successful anti-drug operations, arrested more than 13,500 personnel, and netted around P16.8 billion worth of dangerous drugs, chemical compounds and equipment.
Crimes exempted from RA 4200 already include treason, espionage, provoking war and disloyalty in case of war, piracy, mutiny in the high seas, rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, inciting to sedition, and kidnapping.