MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said it has sued 32 persons for allegedly spreading false reports and information on the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a report submitted to PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) revealed that 24 suspects were arrested for spreading fake news on social media that has caused panic among the public while Police Regional Offices and PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group also arrested another eight suspects for spreading false information.
ACG said the suspects are now facing charges for violating Unlawful Use of Means of Publication and Unlawful Utterances under Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code as amended, concerning Sec 4c4 (online libel) and Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Law.
The suspects were from Quezon City, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Calabarzon, Mimaropa Western Visayas. Zamboanga Peninsula and Caraga.
Brig. Gen. Dennis Agustin, ACG chief, urged the public to cooperate in taking greater steps to topple the Covid-19 pandemic and refrain from sharing and posting false reports that may cause panic and confusion.
Violators face imprisonment of one to six months and a fine ranging from PHP40,000 to PHP200,000. They could also be punished under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
They can also be held liable for violating Presidential Decree No. 90, which declares rumor-mongering and spreading false information as unlawful, which may cause or tend to cause panic, divisive effects among the people, and undermine the stability of the government.
The PNP has earlier formed a task force against fake news online on Covid-19 which aims to run after fake news peddlers.
Gamboa said when still in doubt, the most prudent thing to do is to validate the information through official government sources.
The Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield can be reached through the following hotlines: 09175382495-GLOBE 09988490013-SMART 02 87253176-LANDLINE or may email at email@example.com. (PNA)