Philippines Senator Wants Harsher Penalties for Cryptocurrency Crimes.
On Monday April 16, the Philippines opposition senator Leila M. de Lima asked her fellow bureaucrats to push the passage of the cryptocurrency bills she helped frame. The proposed bills aim to introduce a harsher penalty towards criminals who use cryptocurrencies during illegal activities.
There’s been a lot going on in the Philippines as far as cryptocurrencies are concerned and lawmakers are yearning to form some laws around the industry that provides this technology to citizens. Only recently the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested a couple who were involved in a Ponzi scheme that had participants paying for investments in bitcoin. Arnel and Leonady Ordonio accumulated 1 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.9Mn USD) worth of bitcoins from investors. The Ordonios promised investors guaranteed 30 percent profits and some people spent $50,000 USD. Further, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) taking a stance against cloud mining operations just recently and the SEC believes mining contracts should be defined as securities.
Opposition senator Leila M. de Lima thinks that the legislative chamber needs to prioritize Senate Bill 1694, a proposal she filed a month ago. The recent Ordonio Ponzi scheme has compelled her to call upon her colleagues.
“I hope that this occurrence will push my esteemed colleagues in the Senate to take my proposed bill seriously and help pass it into law soon,” the senator explains.
“Knowing that virtual currency resembles money, and that the possibilities in using it are endless, higher penalty for its use on illegal activities is necessary.”
SB1694 would re-define the Republic Act No. 3815 or the Revised Penal Code (RPC) in order to penalize cryptocurrency criminals one degree higher than the traditional RPC.
“No matter how small or big a group, a punishment must be given. It should never be easy to escape after stealing the hard earned money of other people,” de Lima said.
The older RPC also states that “syndicated estafa and other forms of swindling shall be punishable by life imprisonment to death” if the act involves five or more individuals. De Lima’s proposal wants to lessen the guidelines of the law to two or more people involved with a syndicated crime involving cryptocurrencies.
The opposition senator also details that citizens from the Philippines should be leery of cryptocurrency investments. It’s also worth noting that senator Leila M. de Lima is a controversial figure, and is currently facing trial for profiting from the illegal narcotics trade.
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