House Panel OKs Bill Regulating e-Wallet, Online Banking

A House panel has approved a bill regulating e-wallet and online banking

A House panel has approved in principle a bill that will regulate the use of e-wallets and bank accounts in online transactions in a bid to address the proliferation of cybercrimes.

House of Representatives
Photo source: GMA News Online

The House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries has endorsed for plenary consideration the substitute bill that proposed to regulate the use of e-wallets and bank accounts, stressing the prohibition on their use for suspicious and unusual financial activity.

The panel has approved in principle the substitute to House Bill No. 9615 filed by panel chair and Quirino Representative Junie Cua, House Bill No. 10141 filed by Camarines Sur Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte, and House Bill No. 10412 by Magdalo party-list Representative Manuel Cabochan III.

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

A bank account was defined in the substitute bill as one referring to interest or non-interest bearing deposit, investment, trust, and other transaction account maintained with a financial institution or a bank.

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

online banking
Photo source: Philstar

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

Specifically, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas proposed the redefinition of “money mule;” addition of the definition of “E-wallet;” deletion of the term “phishing” to be replaced with the term “social engineering scheme” on all references to phishing in the measure; and the change in the title of the bill.

Melchor Plabasan, BSP technology risk and innovation supervision department director, said that the changes they made were essentially intended to make the bill clearer and consistent with other laws or regulations.

READ ALSO: BSP Backs Senate Bill Protecting Financial Accounts vs Cybercrime

On the other hand, the PNP proposed the inclusion of a provision which stated 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.”

Also, the panel addressed the serious bottleneck facing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the PNP in the prosecution of the issue of getting information from banks, which Cua said, would be addressed by the central bank.

Cua also gave assurance that the bill will address law enforcers’ problem of securing a court warrant.

We will address that by improving the language of this bill,” Cua vowed.

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