Destruction of Computer Data under the Rule on Cybercrime Warrants

Under the Rule on Cybercrime Warrants and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, service providers have the duty to preserve computer data within a general period of 6 months (see Preservation of Computer Data), upon notice by law enforcement agencies. On the other hand, law enforcement agencies have a requisite period to complete the examination of computer data. Upon the expiration of these periods, the service providers and law enforcement authorities, as the case may be, shall immediately and completely destroy the computer data subject of preservation and examination. 

Destruction of Computer Data in Cybercrime Warrants
Related Summaries/Discussions:
Warrant to Intercept Computer Data (WICD)
Warrant to Examine Computer Data (WECD)
Warrant to Disclose Computer Data (WDCD)
Warrant to Search, Seize and Examine Computer Data (WSSECD)

Preservation of Computer Data
* Custody of computer data
Venue on Criminal Actions and Application for Warrants
Cybercrimes in the Philippines


Upon motion and due hearing, the court may, for justifiable reasons, order the complete or partial destruction, or the return to its lawful owner or possessor, of the computer data or any of the related items turned over to its custody. 

Likewise, the court may, motu proprio, and upon written notice to all the parties concerned, order the complete or partial destruction, or return to its lawful owner or possessor, of the computer data or any of the related items turned over to its custody if no preliminary investigation or case involving these items has been instituted after 31 days from their deposit, or if preliminary investigation has been so instituted within this period, upon finality of the prosecutor’s resolution finding lack of probable cause. In its sound discretion, the court may conduct a clarificatory hearing to further determine if there is no reasonable opposition to the items’ destruction or return. 

If the court finds the destruction or return of disclosed computer data or subscriber’s information subject of a WDCD to be justified, it shall first issue an order directing the law enforcement authorities to turn-over the retained copy thereof. Upon its turn-over, the retained copy shall be simultaneously destroyed or returned to its lawful owner or possessor together with the computer data or subscriber’s information that was originally turned over to the issuing court. 


The destruction of computer data and related items, if so allowed by the court, shall be made in the presence of the Branch Clerk-of-Court, or in his/her absence, in the presence of any other person duly designated by the court to witness the same. The accused or the person/s from whom such items were seized, or his/her representative or counsel, as well as the law enforcement officer allowed access to such items as indicated in the inventory, or his/her duly authorized representative, may also be allowed to witness the said activity. They shall be served a written notice by the Branch Clerk-of-Court at least 3 days prior to the aforementioned date. 

Within 24 hours from the destruction of the computer data, the Branch Clerk-of-Court or the witness duly designated by the court shall issue a sworn certification as to the fact of destruction and file the said ce1iificate with the same court. 

The storage device, or other items turned over to the court’s custody, shall be destroyed by shredding, drilling of four holes through the device, prying the platters apart, or other means in accordance with international standards that will sufficiently make it inoperable. 

P&L Law

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