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House panel OKs bill regulating online banking, e-wallet

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
House panel OKs bill regulating online banking, e-wallet
The committee on banks and financial intermediaries has approved in principle the substitute to House Bill No. 9615 filed by panel chair and Quirino Rep. Junie Cua, HB 10141 filed by Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, and HB 10412 by Magdalo party-list Rep. Manuel Cabochan III.
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MANILA, Philippines — A House panel has endorsed for plenary consideration a measure that will regulate the use of bank accounts and e-wallets in online transactions, in a bid to address the proliferation of cybercrimes.

The committee on banks and financial intermediaries has approved in principle the substitute to House Bill No. 9615 filed by panel chair and Quirino Rep. Junie Cua, HB 10141 filed by Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, and HB 10412 by Magdalo party-list Rep. Manuel Cabochan III.

This means the measure will be taken up once the chamber resumes session next week after its Christmas break.

Cua cited the importance of the measure due to exponential growth of electronic financial transactions, as well as the increase in cybercrimes that have victimized the depositing public and banks.

During a hearing last Thursday, the panel tackled the proposed amendments by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to the bill.

The BSP specifically proposed the change in the title of the bill which reads “An Act Regulating the Use of Bank Accounts, E-Wallets, and other Financial Accounts;” addition of definition of “E-wallet;” redefinition of “money mule;” and deletion of the term “phishing” to be replaced with the term “social engineering scheme” on all references to phishing in the bill.

BSP technology risk and innovation supervision department director Melchor Plabasan explained to lawmakers that the changes intended to make the bill clearer and consistent with other regulations or laws.

The PNP, on the other hand, proposed the inclusion of a provision which states that “a penalty of one degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case maybe, shall be imposed if the same is committed by, and through the acts as defined under Section 4 of this Act.” The panel also addressed the serious bottleneck facing the PNP and the Department of Justice in the prosecution of the issue of getting information from banks, which Cua said, would be addressed by the BSP.

Cua also gave assurance that the measure will address law enforcers’ problem of securing a court warrant. “We will address that by improving the language of this bill,” he vowed.

LRAY VILLAFUERTE
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