Palace: Wiretapping is illegal in the country

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DAVAO CITY (March 9) —- Malacañang on Thursday, March 7, stressed that wiretapping is illegal in the country in response to criticisms on the legality of the use of intercepted phone conversations to cull information on the illegal drug industry in the country. 

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said that under the law, wiretapping is illegal and the government should comply to it. 

Secretary Panelo, however, said that what he meant about using wiretapped communication on possible illegal drug activity in the country is using it just as a lead to pinpoint these individuals in the drug trade, given its inadmissibility in evidence. 

“First, it’s the policy of the government to comply with the law. Wiretapping is illegal in this country,” he said. 

“[I]f it is a matter of national security, I don’t think na masama na gamitin natin iyong information as a lead,” he added. 

According to the Palace official, all countries have this shared vision to end the twin evils of the world, which are terrorism and the scourge of illegal drugs, so it is necessary that these countries give information regarding such to halt the spread of these crimes.

“So kung lead lang… I don’t think that would be illegal. [Kapag may information ka kasi about a certain person] hindi ba that would be a lead for law enforcement agencies to conduct a surveillance on the person,” he said. 

“But definitely ‘pag wiretapping, it’s illegal in this country, and we will not allow it whether it’s foreign or taga rito,” he added. 

The President’s spokesman likewise explained that drug enforcement agencies get their information from several sources like former drug surrenderees and using high technology and not on wiretapping. 

“I was not also making a statement na iyong narco list was based on that. My elucidation is more of a general term,” he said. 

Panelo, however, said that the government could not prosecute on allegations alone. It should conduct a further investigation using the lead they received. 

“That’s why in the course of cooperation, you will conduct surveillance on the particular person,” he said. 

In the meantime, Sec. Panelo stood firm that it is illegal for other countries to spy on Filipinos. 

“Definitely, objectionable. Foreign country should not surveil us. In fact, we have the espionage law,” he pointed out.-NewsLine.ph

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