By Marie Tonette Marticio
PALO, Leyte – The Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (RACU) 8 in Eastern Visayas is appealing to the public not to patronize disinformation or “fake news” and be responsible social media users.
RACU Deputy Chief P/Majir Romenito Mondoñedo warned that any person publishing disinformation that could endanger the public awaits imprisonment from 30 days and 1 day to six months, and fine of up to P200,000.
Although they have not yet received any complaints pertaining to fake news in the region, the official said that they could investigate motu proprio, or on their own initiative, as long as they deem it necessary.
He said that they have recently investigated some disinformation spreading on social media about the corononavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“When it comes to statement, it should be from legitimate sources such as government agencies, but we should also be mindful of our comments and opinions,” he noted.
On August 29, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 10951, a law amending amounts and fines imposed under the 87-year-old Revised Penal Code.
Section 18, Article 154, titled “Unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances” provides that penalties will be imposed on a person who will publish false news by passing it off as legitimate news through print or other publication methods.
“Any person who by means of printing, lithography, or any other means of publication shall publish or cause to be published as news any false news which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.”