By Perla Lena

COORDINATION MEETING. Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center Executive Director Undersecretary Alexander Ramos (center) meets with Iloilo City Police Office police officers, led by Director Col. Joeresty Coronica, on Tuesday (Nov. 7, 2023). Ramos said they would like to determine the extent of the organization in Iloilo following the arrest of 17 Chinese nationals in Iloilo City for cybercrime on Nov. 4, 2023. (PNA photo by PGLena)

ILOILO CITY – Authorities are investigating the extent of the cybercrime operations of the 17 Chinese nationals arrested on Nov. 4 at a subdivision in Barangay Balantang, Jaro district here.

“This is of national interest that’s why we are here today to determine the extent of the organization in Iloilo. This is not the first time we are here, and the spread of the syndicated operations such as this Chinese-operated activity is alarming to us because they are now entering the outside of Metro Manila,” Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) Executive Director, Undersecretary Alexander Ramos, said in an interview, on Tuesday.

He added it is “alarming because it is going out of the nerve center of their activity,” and they would “like to manage and control the influx of foreign nationals involved in nefarious activities.”

Ramos said they are not yet sure if all the suspects are part of the syndicate or if they were trafficked.

The CICC official met with Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) Director Col. Joeresty Coronica after visiting the site of the illegal operations at Lawa-an Subdivision.

“Our presence here, we would size up what the local authorities are capable of and deliver to them additional skill level and possibly tools that we can provide to allow them a wider scope of investigation,” he added.

Meanwhile, Coronica said they are monitoring the case because they have busted not just a simple cybercrime but one that has connections outside of Iloilo City.

Coronica said their Directorate for Intelligence (DI) at the national headquarters is coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) even as he noted that only six of the 17 arrested have passports.

The suspects were charged with violations of Section 4 (C) (1) and Section 4 (B) (2) of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 on Monday.

Section (C) (1) refers to cybersex or the “wilful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration” while Section 4 (B) (2) is on computer-related fraud or the “unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer data or program or interference in the functioning of a computer system, causing damage thereby with fraudulent intent.”

Coronica said once the suspects posted bail, they would be referred to the BI for a possible violation of immigration laws. (PNA)