Gloria Arroyo, son file bill to penalize economic spying

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Former Pesident Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has teamed up with her son in crafting a bill that would punish “economic espionage.”

Now on her second term as Pampanga representative, Arroyo and son Dato, a congressman from Camarines Sur, filed House Bill No. 1377, which seeks to criminalize economic espionage to “protect and ensure the development of proprietary economic information as an integral part of the nation’s commerce and economic development.”

The crime is committed “by any person who steals, wrongfully appropriates, takes, carries away, or conceals, or by fraud, artifice, or deception obtains proprietary economic information.”

“We need to advance the development and lawful use of Philippine proprietary economic information by protecting it from theft, wrongful destruction or alteration, misappropriation and conversion by foreign governments and their agents or instrumentalities,” the authors said in the bill’s explanatory note.

“The development, protection and lawful exchange of such information is essential to the competitiveness of critical segments of Philippine business and industry.”

In a statement, the Arroyos said the crime “can cost the country’s economy millions of pesos each year especially when perpetrated by foreign government and their agents and instrumentalities.”

Known as the Economic Espionage and Protection of Proprietary Information Act of 2013, the measure would slap a perpetrator with a fine “equivalent to the economic value of such proprietary information.”

The proposed law also authorizes the government to “forfeit any property constituting, or derived from any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from the commission of such violations.”

The forfeiture would also cover “any of the person’s property used, or intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of a violation of this Act.”

Economic espionage would also penalize a person who “receives, buys, or possesses proprietary economic information, knowing the same to have been stolen or wrongfully appropriated, obtained, or converted.”

Also included is any person who “wrongfully copies, duplicates, sketches, draws, photographs, downloads, uploads, alters, destroys, photocopies, replicates, transmits, delivers, sends, mails, communicates, or conveys proprietary information.”

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