DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 August) – Police urged netizens to stop posting “misinformation” about alleged crimes, including robbery and kidnapping incidents, in Davao City on social media to avoid giving the wrong notion about the public order here.
Maj. Ma. Teresita P. Gaspan, Davao City Police Office spokesperson, said during an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday that the netizens should avoid posting malicious contents regarding the city’s peace and order situation.
She also urged the public to be more discerning of the posts that they read online by verifying the sources of the information.
“We enjoy our right to freedom of expression but let’s be responsible with what we post that could cause greater damage, particularly when it comes to our peace and order,” she said.
Gaspan said the police would take legal action against individuals responsible for spreading “false information” online.
In a statement last August 27, the Police Regional Office-Davao said it would file criminal charges against a certain Charles Japheth Lagradante Luzada, an 18-year-old student from Toril Davao City, for posting on his social media account about alleged rampant robbery incidents in Davao.
It said investigators are preparing complaints for violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes publishing or causing 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.”
Under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10175, higher penalties are imposed “for crimes committed by, through, and with the use of information and communications technologies.”
Under Republic Act 10951, the penalty for violations of Article 154 shall be imprisonment for six months and a fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000.
Gaspan added the police would pursue the complaints against Luzada even if he already issued a public apology.
She assured the public that there is no let-up in the efforts of the local police to maintain the peace and order situation in the city, particularly in all schools to enure the safety of the students.
She said police provided security detail and maintained a police assistance desk in every school.
Speaking during the “Special Hour with the Mayor” over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) last August 19, Mayor Sebastian Duterte told Dabawenyos that instead of spreading unverified reports of robberies on social media, they should directly report these incidents to authorities to avoid “demoralizing the policemen.”
Duterte opened his program with expletives to show his displeasure with residents who spread the false information online and those who believed them and blamed the local government for its supposed inaction.
“Mo ingon mo nga walay ginabuhat ang gobyerno? What do you expect? Unsa me Batman nga nay mahitabo dire insidente moabot lang me og kalit mangarate me og mga criminal. Nabuang naman siguro mo? (You blame the government for doing nothing? What do you expect? Are we Batman who could show up at an incident and fight the criminals? Are you crazy?),” he said.
“Ireport ninyo sa police, ipa-blotter ninyo para kabalo me sa insidente, maimbestigahan masolbad ang problema. P***** i** Facebook? Gago man siguro mo? Mga uplok ning p*** (You report to the police so that we will know about the incident, investigate it, and solve the problem. Son of a *****! Facebook? Are you crazy? You’re idiots),” he said.
He said that people behind the posts were only seeking attention.
He said the “made-up” stories could “demoralize” the policemen who are doing their best to maintain the peace and order in the city. “Ang police kay naningkamot mata na og kadlawon, nagapaningkamot ang gobeyrno. Tungod lang gusto mo magpapansin, p***** I**, panayaw mo og Tiktok (The police strive to get up early, the government is doing all it can. Just because you seek attention, son of a *****, you dance on Tiktok),” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)