Department of Justice

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra has approved the guidelines on the gathering of evidence and case build-up of cases involving gender-based online sexual harassment (GBOSH).

In a statement issued on Friday, Dec. 31, the DOJ said the guidelines were “submitted by a Technical Working Group composed of representatives from the DOJ and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation).”

The guidelines are in accordance with the provisions of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act.

“The Guidelines state that the following laws and established rules shall govern the investigation and prosecution of GBOSH cases: R.A. No. 11313 and its IRR; R.A. No. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) and its IRR; Rule on Cybercrime Warrants; Rules on Electronic Evidence; and the 2019 Amendments to the 1989 Revised Rules on Evidence,” the DOJ said.

It said that under RA 11313, GBOSH is a criminal act that uses information and communications technology (ICT) in terrorizing and intimidating victims through:

1. “Physical, psychological, and emotional threats, unwanted sexual misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic and sexist remarks and comments online whether publicly or through direct and private messages;

2. “Invasion of the victim’s privacy through cyberstalking and incessant messaging;

3. “Uploading and sharing without the consent of the victim any form of media that contains photos, voice, or video with sexual content;

4. “Any unauthorized recording and sharing of any of the victim’s photos, videos or any information online;

5. “Impersonating identities of victims online or posting lies about victims to harm their reputation; or

6. “Filing false abuse reports to online platforms to silence victims.”

“Under the said law, the Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNPACG) is tasked to receive complaints regarding GBOSH cases, but the National Bureau of Investigation-Cybercrime Division (NBI-CCD) shall also handle cases involving the same,” the DOJ said.

In cases where the investigation of a GBOSH incident necessitates cooperation with foreign counterparts, the DOJ said “the law enforcement authorities (LEAs) shall coordinate with the Department of Justice – Office of Cybercrime (DOJ OOC) as the 24/7 Point of Contact (POC) in the Philippines under the purview of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.”

“The DOJ, through its National Prosecution Service (NPS), serves as the prosecution arm of the government. Thus, it is mandated to undertake the prosecution of persons who violate the provisions of special laws including R.A. No. 11313,” it added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (