Are you a victim of cyber-stalking?

Published by rudy Date posted on May 24, 2011

Proposed law on stalking to include cyber-stalking

MANILA, Philippines – A proposed law seeking to penalize stalking will be expanded to include cyber-stalking.

At a hearing of the Senate justice and human rights committee on Tuesday, Atty. Joaquin Parcero of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said the agency’s anti-computer crimes unit receives an average 2,000 complaints of cyber-stalking monthly, usually on the social networking site, Facebook.

“Sometimes, after all the stalking is done on Facebook, they get all the information and are able to go to the house of the people they’re stalking,” he said.

Committee chairman Francis Escudero recalled how a stranger created an account in his name before on Friendster, another social networking site which used to be popular among Filipinos. He asked his resource persons if it should qualify as stalking.

“If it was me who’s being stalked, [and the person] will make pages of me and make false information … it’s an attack on my privacy,” Parcero said.

“It can be the truth,” Escudero replied.

“It would still be an attack my privacy,” Parcero answered.

Parcero emphasized that stalking must not be limited to the traditional way of following a person all the time and making persistent phone calls.

Escudero has ordered a technical working group to include cyber-stalking in the measure, which already passed the committee level in the previous Congress.

“It is new to us at isasama namin doon sa panukalang batas given the present technology,” he told reporters after the hearing.

Escudero said his committee will consolidate two existing bills on the issue: Senate Bill 1778 by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Senate Bill 2442 by Sen. Manny Villar.

In both versions, stalking covers such actions as making repeated phone calls to another person without any legitimate purpose, communicating anonymously at extremely inconvenient hours using offensive language, making repeated visits to the victim’s home or workplace, and other forms or harassment.

Stalkers will be imprisoned from 6 months to 6 years and face a fine of P1,000 to P5,000. –Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

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