Cryptocurrency fraud and law reforms in Philippines – Harsher penalties for cryptocurrency crimes

On Monday, April 16th, a controversial figure of the Philippines Senate, opposition senator Leila M. de Lima was seen to raise her concerns again over the penalties for cryptocurrency crimes. She wants harsher penalties for cryptocurrency crimes.

Opposition senator Leila M. de Lima thinks that the legislative chamber needs to prioritize Senate Bill 1694, a proposal she filed a month ago. This follows after a case involving a couple who defrauded the citizens of Philippines of 1 billion Philippine Pesos [$1.9Mn USD]. The Philippine National Police [PNP] arrested the couple, Arnel and Leonady Ordonio who were involved in a Ponzi scheme that had participants paying for investments in Bitcoin. The Ordonios promised investors guaranteed 30 percent profits.

The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] was seen taking a stance against cloud mining operations just recently and the SEC believes mining contracts should be defined as securities.

The senator says:

“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’s proposed Bill 1694 will alter the existing Republic Act No. 3815 or the Revised Penal Code [RPC] in order to penalize cryptocurrency criminals one degree higher than the traditional RPC.

In support of her bill, the senator says:

“Knowing that virtual currency is a form of money, and that its uses are endless, higher penalty for its use on illegal activities is necessary.”

The RPC states that any syndicated estafa and other forms of swindling involving five or more individuals shall be punishable by life imprisonment to death. SB1694 proposes to lessen the guidelines of the law to two or more people involved with a syndicated crime involving cryptocurrencies.

In the lights of the recent events, opposition senator Leila M. de Lima urges the citizens of Philippines to make more informed decisions and to cautiously invest in cryptocurrency.

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