BSP sues 5 people for mutilating banknotes

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has filed criminal raps against five individuals for “willfully” defacing and mutilating banknotes on social media platforms.

The BSP on Friday, Sept. 9, said the BSP Payments and Currency Investigation Group and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Quezon City Police District - Anti-Cybercrime Team filed the charges before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

“In separate videos that were posted on social media, the five individuals were seen willfully tearing, piercing, defacing, or destroying legal tender Philippine currency banknotes,” said the BSP. “These individuals were charged with violation of Presidential Decree No. 247, in relation to Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended, and Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act),” it added.

Under PD No. 247, such criminal acts are penalized with imprisonment of up to five years and also slapped a P20,000 fine for the defacement, mutilation, tearing, burning, or destruction of local currency.

As for Article 154 of the RPC, as amended, the BSP said persons who, by any means of publication, encourage disobedience to the law will also face jail time.

“Moreover, R.A. No. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act) penalizes all crimes covered by the RPC and special laws, if committed through or with the use of information and communication technologies, with a penalty at least one degree higher than that provided by the RPC and special laws, as the case may be,” the BSP added.

The BSP has always reminded and even warned the public against malicious actions or misdeeds that destroys banknotes and coins, or the country’s currency, and such acts are punishable offence.

The BSP is vested with police authority to investigate, make arrests, and conduct searches and seizures in accordance with law, for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the currency.

The BSP strongly prohibit acts of defacement and mutilation of local currency such as: writing or putting marks on banknotes; willful tearing, burning, or destruction, in any manner, of currency; excessive folding or crumpling that results in a breakdown of the structure and limpness of the banknote; to cause multiple random folds across the entire banknote that toughly affect its visual appearance; and exposing banknotes or coins to chemicals or other materials resulting in the acceleration of the defacement, destruction, or natural wear and tear of the note or coin.