By Jeffrey Damicog
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is set to file charges next week against at least five persons believed to be behind fake news posted in social media concerning the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“By next week, magpa-file na kami ng mga cases (By next week we will be filing cases),” disclosed NBI Cybercrime Division (NBI-CCD) Chief Victor Lorenzo.
“So far, for evaluation pa lang ng legal namin is lima (At the moment, our legal section is evaluating the cases of five persons),” he noted.
Following the evaluation of the evidence that will be used against these persons, Lorenzo said the NBI-CCD will file the charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“Confident kami by Monday ire-release na nila, tapos yun ipafile na namin sa Department of Justice (We are confident the legal section will release the results of its evaluation by Monday, after which, we will be filing charges before the DOJ),” he said.
Lorenzo assured that the NBI will only run after those producing fake news and not those who are critical of the government.
“Ang general instructions kasi sa NBI is to suppress yung mga fake news that could actually lead dun sa public disorder (There is a general instruction to the NBI to suppress fake news that could actually lead to public disorder,” said Lorenzo.
“Alam mo naman ngayon, medyo sensitive ang mga tao and they would want to believe kung ano lang ang paniwalaan nila (People during these times are sensitive and will believe what they want to believe),” he pointed out.
The NBI has been investigating fake news concerning the COVID-19 pursuant to the Feb. 4 Department Order (DO) No. 52 issued by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra when COVID-19 was still called 2019-nCoV ARD.
In the DO, the Secretary told the NBI “to conduct an investigation and case build-up on alleged deliberate spread of misinformation and fake news about the 2019-nCoV ARD and false reporting of 2019-nCoV ARD cases and, if evidence warrants, to file appropriate charges against persons responsible therefor.”