Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said the passage of the proposed SIM Card Registration Act will be “a weapon to foil the evolving use of this device in criminal activities.”
According to Zubiri, as scams to harm the public rapidly change, “so must the regulatory antidotes to them.”
“Itong batas na ito ang isa sa mga panlaban sa malawakang pambubudol sa ating mamamayan gamit ang text messages. Bilyon ang nawawala sa malawakang holdap na ito,” Zubiri said.
“So it can be said that this is a legislative app that society can use in winning the budol fights. This bill will destroy the hiding places of those who are able to conduct cybercrimes anonymously,” he added.
Last August, Zubiri himself disclosed to the public that a couple of scammers had targeted him. Having obtained his personal mobile number, the scammers posed as public officials and attempted to extort money for a bogus political convention.
A version of the SIM Registration Act, also authored by Zubiri, had successfully been approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress, but was vetoed by the previous administration.
In drafting the proposed legislation, Zubiri said care has been made that in stopping criminals, it will not be encroaching on the rights of the people or imposing additional inconveniences on them.
“The registration must be easy and hassle-free, and data collected in the registry must be fire-walled against hacks,” he added.
He stressed that the measure is not a delete button that will wipe out in one press all illegal acts done via mobile phones, noting that laws are only as good and as effective as their enforcement.
“This is a step in the right direction. Protecting the public is our primordial concern and this law will help our security services track down criminals and possible terrorist threats by using unregistered numbers to do their dirty work.”
Zubiri won his first term as a senator as a result of electoral fraud. The Senate Electoral Tribunal ruled in 2011 that vote padding and shaving was evident in the results of 2,658 precincts in Mindanao which were questioned by Aquilino Pimentel III, the 13th placer in the 2007 senatorial race.
He resigned from the Senate after concrete proof of poll fraud emerged. Pimentel, who had 258,166 more votes than Zubiri, was sworn in as senator in August 2011.