People in the Philippines face heavier sentences for crimes involving cryptocurrencies if a proposed new bill is passed into law.
According to a press release from the country's senate on Mar. 13, opposition senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a bill – SB 1694 – to the country's legislative house, seeking to raise penalties for crimes involving cryptocurrencies to one degree higher than currently.
De Lima also proposed that the severity of the sentence should also take into account the value of the cryptocurrencies' worth in Philippine pesos at the time the crime was committed. The crimes targeted, as the senator elaborated, may include payment for child pornography and bribery of public officials.
The digital assets involved in the crime, as the bill further suggests, would be subsequently confiscated by the government, unless they originally belonged to innocent parties.
The legislative effort comes a result of the senator noting increasing the difficulty of investigating crimes that make use of the anonymity-providing features of cryptocurrencies. As such, the bill has been filed in bid to more effectively counter the use of the financial technology in illicit activities.
De Lima states:
"With the emerging threats of [cryptocurrency] use in the commission of crimes, our penal laws must adapt with the changing times and our criminal justice system must come prepared in the event that this is used in illegal activities."
The legislative effort comes as Philippines regulators are increasing their efforts to curb cryptocurrency-related projects that are deemed suspect, while the country's securities agency is currently developing rules to determine the legal basis for activities such as initial coin offerings.
Handcuffs and bitcoin image via Shutterstock