Jinggoy eyes prison term, P5M fine vs cyber criminals  

Better disability pay for veterans, beneficiaries breezes thru Senate

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SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is eyeing the imposition of a jail term and fine amounting to as much as P5million against cyber criminals who target virtual or electronic wallets and similar platforms used for digital financial services.

Under Senate Bill 2171 or the proposed Bank Accounts, Electronic Wallets, and Other Financial Accounts Regulation Act, government agencies and financial regulators would be given sufficient tools to address cybercrime schemes and provide financial consumers with efficient means to resolve their complaints.

“Kung may kakayahan ang mga kinauukulan na matunton ang mga nasa likod ng mga hacking o unauthorized transactions, scamming at iba pang modus gamit ang internet o sa pamamagitan ng mobile banking, dapat may kaukulang parusa na pagkakakulong at mabigat na multa na kakaharapin sila,” Estrada said.

“At kung ayaw natin na mawalan ng kumpiyansya ang publiko sa mga digital transactions, dapat may kasiguraduhan na maibabalik ang mga perang pinaghirapan nila na nawalang parang bula,” the senator stressed.

Due to the damaging effect on the economy, the seasoned lawmaker is seeking to declare in his bill the commission of large-scale offenses or the use of a mass mailer as a form of economic sabotage and a heinous crime, punishable with life imprisonment and a fine ranging from P1 million to P5 million.

An act shall be deemed committed by a syndicate if it was carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring with one another, while those considered as large scale are acts against three or more persons individually or as a group.

In his proposed measure, Estrada likewise seeks to prohibit money mules, social engineering schemes, and acts abetting in the commission of the covered offenses.

‘Money mule’ involves transferring illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else through an e-wallet or other financial account, while social engineering schemes include, among others, phishing, tricking users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information.

Those found guilty of money mule will be meted with imprisonment or prision correccional or a fine of P100,000 toP200,000. Those who performed social engineering schemes will be punished with prision mayor or a fine of P200,000 to P500,000, Estrada said.

If the target or victim of the social engineering scheme is a senior citizen at the time the offense was committed or attempted, the maximum penalty shall be imposed, he added.

Better disability pension breezes thru Senate

Meanwhile, Jinggoy also welcomed the swift passage of a bill he filed seeking to increase the disability pension for veterans and their beneficiaries by as much as 488 percent.

Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada troops the line during the Philippine Air Force Flying School “Balik Fernando 2023” alumni homecoming at the AETDC Grandstand, Fernando Air Base, Lipa City, Batangas, May 7, 2023. Estrada, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, expressed elation after his bill increasing the disability pension of veterans was passed on third reading by the Senate with 21 votes in its favor (Office of Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada/ Rey Javelosa).

In a statement on May 15, 2023, Jinggoy, also the chair of the Committee on National Defense, noted that his bill, SB 1480, was passed on third and final reading with the support of 21 of his colleagues and without any opposition.

“I truly feel that this measure is long overdue. Our veterans who sustained disabilities and injury in the line of duty have long waited for this legislation to update their monthly disability pension rates which have remained unchanged for 29 years,” he noted.

“This legislation is one way of honoring our military and war veterans who served and defended the country in their prime and ensuring that in their twilight years, they and their families are accorded adequate benefits and assistance,” he added.

Under SB 1480, which will amend Republic Act 6948, the disability base rate will be raised to P4,500 from the current P1,000, or an increase of 350 percent.

Those receiving a monthly disability pension of P1,200; P1,300; P1,400; P1,500; and P1,600 will be adjusted to P6,100; P6,900; P7,700; P8,500, and P9,300, respectively.

On the other hand, those currently receiving P1,700 which has the highest disability rating will be receiving P10,000 or an increase of P8,300, equivalent to 488 percent.

The P500 monthly pension for the spouse and each unmarried minor child will be adjusted to P1,000.

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