U.S. Trains Philippine Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Justices on Cybercrime

Seated, from left to right: Supreme Court Associate Justices Rosemari Carandang, Andres Reyes Jr., Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Antonio Carpio, Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, Associate Justices Mariano Del Castillo, Marvic Leonen, Alexander Gesmundo, and Amy Lazaro-Javier.  Standing, from left to right: Court Administrator Midas Marquez, U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT) Technical Advisor Felix Camerino, U.S. DOJ Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) Senior Digital Investigative Analyst Daniel Ogden, CCIPS Cybercrime Lab Director Ovie Carroll, OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor David Bragdon, and OPDAT Legal Specialist Guia Montealto.

Manila, April 3, 2019 — The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, through the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT), coordinated with the Supreme Court Sub-Committee on Commercial Courts (SCC) to train nine Supreme Court justices and more than 30 Court of Appeals justices on cybercrime on March 25, 2019.

The Supreme Court is in the process of implementing the new Rule on Cybercrime Warrants (RCW), which facilitates the detection, investigation, and prosecution of cybercrime offenses.  This training supported the implementation of the RCW and addressed new issues posed by emerging computer-facilitated crimes, including digital security and privacy risks.  This is part of an OPDAT partnership with the Philippines to build government capacity to effectively fight cyber-enabled crimes.

At the training, Ovie Carroll, U.S. DOJ Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) Cybercrime Laboratory Director, and Daniel Ogden, CCIPS Senior Digital Investigative Analyst, discussed the nuances and evidentiary value of computer data in comparison to traditional evidence, as well as the security risks and benefits inherent in digital devices.  They also shared techniques for gathering, preserving, and analyzing digital evidence.  Their presentation provided the justices with practical insights to help them apply and enhance the RCW.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin explained, “The speed of technological development creates blind spots in matters of personal security and privacy.  The briefing on digital security was truly informative and invaluable for us in the Judiciary.”

Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Ramon Barza, who attended the session for appellate justices, said, “The talk gave a refreshing view on the impact of cyber technology on gathering evidence and building up cases, especially for the prosecution.”

The U.S. Embassy, through OPDAT, is working with Philippine partners to enhance justice sector capabilities via trainings for judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and government agencies on combatting transnational crimes.  OPDAT also helped develop instructional videos and a new cybercrime course for criminology schools nationwide.  OPDAT will conduct cybercrime training for northern Luzon judges from April 4 to 5 in Baguio City.