The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seems to also have its hands full attending to issues related to the novel coronavirus disease 2019.
Reports have it that as of this writing, the NBI has issued over a dozen subpoenas as it probes into the peddling of misinformation or fake news particularly on social media.
Those who were sent subpoenas are being made to appear at the NBI's headquarters in Manila on April 7 in order to shed light on alleged violation of Art. 154 of the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits anyone from the unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances.
While the NBI is getting the brickbats for doing this while the country is facing challenges brought about by COVID-19 such as enhanced community quarantine and lockdowns, the agency is simply doing its job too.
In an interview, NBI anti-cybercrime division head Victor Lorenzo justified the actions being taken by the bureau saying they are just fulfilling the tasks assigned to them.
He stressed the importance of running after those who engage in spreading fake news using the various social media platforms available, specially if such misinformation can lead to disorder which, as we all know, can also lead to chaos and eventualy unrest and anarchy in the country which we also do not need right now.
Among the fake news that the NBI is looking into is the 60-day extension of the lockdown and home quarantine and that the military will deploy planes to disinfect across the country.
I remember having come across the fake news on extended lockdown and quarantine which said that even supermarkets and other food sources will be shut down. Indeed, it was alarming.
Lorenzo was also quick to clarify that the NBI is focusing on online materials that violate the law and not on mere comments as some netizens, again engaging in misinformation, make it appear.
With regard the move to make Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto explain, it was not for anything but for his actions and statements in the heat of the home quarantine imposed by the national government and the decision to suspend public transportation, no less, when he allowed tricycles to continue plying and even called for national authorities to reconsider.
The problem is, those who are against the government are again using all these issues for their own political gains.
Can you imagine if all the other mayors would also act independent of or worse, contrary to the direction being taken by the national government to address the coronavirus problem?
I have nothing against Sotto but right is right, wrong is wrong.
Obviously and good for him, Sotto realized and acknowledged his mistake when he eventualy took on a different action and followed the national government’s direction to look for other ways to ferry patients, which was the reason he was cited in the first place.
There is also the problem with scams happening here and there. Unscrupulous individuals have taken the situation as an opportunity to manufacture, sell, hoard or overprice the most in demand items these days like alcohol, sanitizers, personal protective equipment, face masks and other medical supplies.
Meanwhile, the problem with a lot of netizens in this country is that they think they can write or post anything they want, no matter what the consequences.
Even for mere netizens, using the social media has accompanying responsibilities.
Spreading fake news or information that would tend to create anxiety and trigger chaos among the already stressed out populace will not help any.
If you cannot be a part of the solution, at least be not a part of the problems, too many as they already are.
The NBI is well within its rights to take action on anything that would compromise the peace and order and security of this country.
Anything that runs counter to government-imposed policies concerning the fight against the coronavirus must be stopped and cooperation must be enforced on everyone at this point in time. We have a government and laws to follow.
United we stand, divided we fall.
There is a time for politicking and this is not it.
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