House votes 256-0 to pass anti-financial scamming bill

By: BusinessMirror
Source: businessmirror

THE House of Representatives has endorsed for Senate approval the proposed Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act to protect all persons from various cybercrime schemes by regulating the use of bank accounts and e-wallets.

With 256 affirmative votes and 0 vote without abstention, lawmakers approved last Monday on third and final reading House Bill 7393, which seeks to prohibit and punish financial crimes such as acting as money mule, performing social engineering schemes, and committing economic sabotage.

The bill will be transmitted to the Senate for its own deliberations.  The bill defines a money mule as a person who obtains, receives, acquires, transfers or withdraws money, funds or proceeds derived from crimes, offenses or social engineering schemes, and related prohibited acts.

It also defines social engineering scheme as the use of deception or fraudulent means by a person to obtain confidential or personal information, including sensitive identifying information of another person.

The measure defines economic sabotage as a prohibited act committed by a syndicate, or committed in large scale or using a mass mailer. An act is deemed committed by a syndicate when carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring and confederating with one another. It is deemed committed in large scale when perpetrated against three or more persons, individually or as a group.

The bill empowers the Bangko
Sentral ng Pilipinas to investigate cases involving violations of the provisions of this proposal, to apply for cybercrime warrants and orders under the pertinent provisions Republic Act No. 10175, and to secure the assistance of law enforcement authorities in its investigation, enforcement and implementation of cybercrime warrants and related orders.

The measure mandates the establishment of a cooperative mechanism among concerned government agencies, banks and covered financial institutions, private sectors and other concerned stakeholders to ensure effective prosecution of cases and enforcement of the law.

It also provides for a “safe harbor clause” whereby no bank or institution, or any of its directors, officers or employees, shall be subject to any action, claim or demand in connection with, and shall be held free and harmless from liability for any act done in compliance with an order for inquiry or examination of or other financial accounts from BSP.

The bill provides that banks and other financial institutions shall ensure that access to their clients’ accounts are protected by the highest level of security, including multi-factor authentication (MFA), security redundancies, and other account-holder authentication and verification processes. Provided that, such security levels are proportionate and commensurate to the nature, size and complexity of their operations.

The measure also provides that crimes defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by and through the acts as defined in this proposal, shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this proposed bill. Provided, that the penalty to be imposed shall be one degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.


The bill penalizes persons found guilty of acting as money mules with imprisonment of six months and one day to six years (prision correccional), or a fine of at least P100,000 but not exceeding P200,000, or both.

It penalizes persons performing social engineering schemes with imprisonment of six years and one day to 12 years (prision mayor), or a fine of at least P200,000 but not exceeding P500,000 or both. The maximum penalty shall be imposed if the victims include senior citizens aged 60 years old or above.

It also penalizes persons found guilty of offenses constituting economic sabotage with life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P1 million but not more than P5 million.


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