NBI starts filing cases vs people spreading ‘fake news’ on COVID

Published August 9, 2021, 1:47 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

National Bureau of Investigation (2)

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has started filing criminal cases against persons “spreading fake news” on the health measures being implemented by the government against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

While NBI’s Cybercrime Division (NBI-CCD) Chief Victor V. Lorenzo did not give the names of those charged, he assured that “may mga nasampahan na tayo ng kaso (we have filed charges).”

“Instead na makatulong, nag-create pa yan ng panic (Instead of helping, it (fake news) creates panic),” Lorenzo said.

He advised the public to be discerning on what information they read online, including social media.

“During the pandemic times, huwag tayo lahat maniniwala sa mga unofficial pronouncements through social media syempre kasi hindi validated (During the pandemic, we should not believe unofficial pronouncements through social media because these are unvalidated),” he stressed.

“Tingnan mo kung saan nanggagaling yung news na yun, dapat sa official government agency, at huwag tayo maniwala sa forwarded post or post lang from an individual (Look where the news comes from, should be from official government agency, and don’t believe forwarded posts or posts from an individual),” he said.

At the same time, Lorenzo said his division has been instructed by NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric B. Distor to run after those behind the fake news that “those who have not been vaccinated will not receive financial assistance.”

Lorenzo said the request for investigation and arrest of persons responsible for the fake news was made by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benjamin “Benhur” D. Abalos Jr.

He said Abalos’ request was forwarded to the NBI last Friday, Aug. 6.

“Ngayon pa lang namin uumpisahan kasi walang attachments (We will begin investigating only now because there were no attachments on the request),” he said.

In an earlier announcement, Abalos said: “To set the record straight, the distribution of ayuda and/or benefits or privileges is not anchored on whether an individual has been inoculated or not.”