NBI, PNP allowed to secure cybercrime warrant

By Benjamin Pulta

May 27, 2024, 5:03 pm

<p>Court Administrator Raul B. VIllanueva <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Court Administrator Raul B. VIllanueva (File photo)

MANILA – Any authorized unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) may file an application for a cybercrime warrant, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) has clarified.

Court Administrator Raul Villanueva, in a circular dated May 6 (OCA Circular No. 139-2024) issued to special commercial, cybercrime and competition courts and released Monday, clarified the correct interpretation of Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) 10175, or the Cybercrime Act.

The said provision states that the NBI and the PNP “shall be responsible for the efficient and effective law enforcement of the provisions of this Act.”

The NBI and the PNP shall organize a cybercrime unit or center manned by special investigators “to exclusively handle cases involving violations of this Act,” it added.

Citing a Department of Justice opinion, Villanueva said Sec. 10 of RA 10175 “does not limit the powers of local/other law enforcement units of the PNP and NBI to apply for a cybercrime warrant,”.

“The exclusivity phrase (in Sec. 10 of RA 10175) provides a limitation on the type of cases that may be handled by the NBI CCD (Cybercrime Division) and the PNP ACG (Anti-Cybercrime Group), true to their mandate of being a specialized unit,” Villanueva said.

He noted that the intention of the law is to create specialized units to handle cybercrime and cyber-related offenses “without necessarily precluding other units to investigate the same type of offenses.”

“Therefore, any duly authorized unit of the PNP and NBI may file an application for a cybercrime warrant.” (PNA)