PNP backs expanding wiretapping power of gov’t to fight terrorism
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said Tuesday that he supports a proposal to expand the wiretapping authority of government to fortify its fight against terrorism and other threats to national security.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a recent joint hearing of the Senate committees on national defense and security and on finance that the Human Security Act be amended, particularly to, among others, broaden the bugging power of the government.
“Of course, to know the network. As I have said hindi natatapos sa isang tao ‘yan. Maraming connections ang isang person, or probably that is one way [to know] if he is acting alone” Albayalde said in a press briefing when asked if he supports the proposal of the defense chief.
According to Lorenzana, the legal timeframe of wiretapping suspects must be extended from the current 30 to 90 days, with another extension of up to 30 days, arguing that it normally takes time to investigate terror cells.
For Albayalde, this will also help authorities locate where the financial support of terrorists come from.
Aside from augmenting the timeframe allowed for wiretapping, Albayalde also supports the proposal to increase the period during which a suspected terrorist can be detained. Under the prevailing law, a suspected terrorist may only be held up to three days or 72 hours.
The PNP chief then shunned fears that amending the Human Security Act could result in abuse by government forces.
“This is a very negative thinking lagi. Look at this… on the positive side. Ito po ay para sa karamihan. Itong mga batas na ginagawa natin, ito ang nakikita natin to address future problems,” he said.
(This is very negative thinking. Look at this… on the positive side. This is for the sake of the majority. These laws we are crafting are seen to address future problems.)
“We have to think about this already dahil hindi po biro ‘yung problem on terrorism (because the problem on terrorism is not a joke). This is worldwide at alam natin dito sa Pilipinas meron na tayong sariling problema (and we know that here in the Philippines, we already have our own problem),” he added. /kga
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