PNP-ACG files criminal charges vs optometrist for false posts on COVID-2019
The Philippine National Police- Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) has filed criminal charges against a Cebu-based optometrist for allegedly spreading false report on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that caused panic in Cebu City.
In a statement, Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said Monday through ACG’s thorough investigation and verification, they were able to trace Josephil Brian Consuelo, the owner of a Facebook post that claimed an alleged COVID-2019-stricken patient died at the University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed).
“Acting upon on the incident, Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit 7 (Central Visayas) conducted fact-checking and validated information and found out that the reports were proven to be false by UCMed's Human Resource and Legal Officer,” Banac said.
Consuelo was arrested last February 13 and facing cases for violating Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 6 and Section 4 (c) 4 (Online Libel) of the Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The law penalizes violation of RA 10175 with the penalty of arresto mayor and a fine ranging from P40, 000 to P200,000 or imprisonment for a minimum period of four years and one day to a maximum of eight years, per offense.
Meanwhile, during his press conference, PNP chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa categorically denied social media post he ordered the donation of Combat Duty Pay and Combat Incentive Pay of PNP personnel to the COVID-19 response operations of government.
“There is no truth to this lie being peddled by certain quarters to serve their own purpose,” he said.
“While it is true that the PNP is extending support to the COVID-19 response operations, the amount I was referring to was the remaining balance of funds collected and donated by the PNP last January for Taal Volcano Eruption relief operations. Police personnel will continue to receive the full amount of monthly Combat Duty Pay and Combat Incentive Pay entitled to personnel assigned to operating units,” he added.
Because of this incident, Gamboa ordered intensified cyber patrol operations and monitoring against fake news with the help of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group.
“We will double our efforts against misinformation and we urge the public to refrain posting unverified information that creates panic and confusion,” he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS