Gamboa orders tougher drive vs fake online news, scams

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa has ordered the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group to step-up their effort to identify and arrest persons behind the spread of fake online news and other scams victimizing the public while the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are going against those making fake news and unverified information which tend to sow confusion among the public and at the same time crack down on online scammers,” said Gen. Gamboa as he ordered the PNP-ACG headed by Brigadier Gen. Dennis P. Agustin to lead the massive PNP campaign.

At least 49 people have been arrested and charged for spreading fake news and figuring in online scams since last March 9 by the PNP-ACG,  said PNP spokesman, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac.

The PNP spokesperson said 24 criminal cases have been filed by the PNP-ACG against 47 of the suspects who were found to have spread fake news and unverified information on social media while the two others were jailed for their involvement in an online scam in which they offered to sell face masks to innocent buyers.

Banac said the 47 were accused of spreading unvalidated reports or ‘fake news’ on social media about the COVID-19 virus which further triggered public fear and anxiety.

The charges were filed as Gen. Gamboa reiterated his appeal to netizens to stop spreading ‘fake news’ on social media which may only sow fear among citizens during this period of public health emergency saying the offense would send them to jail.

Those charged were residents of Cavite, Laguna and Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.