On March 13, Philippine Senator Leila M. de Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1694 in a call for imposing stiffer penalties for cryptocurrency crimes.
Senator de Lima says that the country’s criminal justice system must be prepared for with the rapidly increasing popularity of digital currencies, the possibilities of it being used for unlawful activities increases as well.
As cryptocurrencies are fairly new to the country, there still exists no laws or guidelines that govern its use or misuse. De Lima calls for the country’s penal laws to adapt to the changing times.
De Lima stated that the crimes that involve the use of digital currency include estafa (fraud), money laundering, terrorist financing and bribery by public officers:
“Since virtual currency resemble money, the possibilities are endless”
Due to the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies, the Philippine authorities may have difficulty in the investigations of crimes. Hence, de Lima believes there is a need for a higher penalty for crypto crimes.
If the bill is passed, crimes involving cryptocurrency will have a penalty that’s one degree higher than the penalties provided for by the Republic Act No. 3815/Revised Penal Code. The gravity of the crime is based on the cryptocurrency’s value at the time the crime was committed.
Cryptocurrencies used in the crimes will be confiscated by the Philippine unless proven to be the property of innocent parties.
The Philippines is currently home to an emerging crypto community and the government is still figuring out the most effective way to regulate it. Last month, the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mentioned that it will be developing a regulatory framework governing cryptocurrency use in the country and it is expected to see light later this year.
You may read the entire press statement here.