Pastor in hot water over false COVID-19 FB post

March 18, 2020

BUTUAN CITY – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 (Caraga) is set to file criminal charges against a pastor for reportedly spreading false information on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

PRO-13 Director, Brig. Gen. Joselito T. Esquivel Jr., said Monday the local police in Veruela town, Agusan del Norte was preparing charges against the 29-year-old pastor, a resident of Barangay Binucayan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur.

​Esquivel said the pastor allegedly posted on his Facebook account about “two positive cases of COVID-19” in barangays San Gabriel and Sta. Emilia in Veruela.

"We found out that it was completely fake and false,” he said of the pastor's social media post.

​Esquivel said the pastor would face charges for violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code or the "Unlawful Use of Means of Publication and Unlawful Utterances" in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Law.

Last week, the PRO-13 chief warned individuals or groups against spreading wrong information on COVID-19 on social media.

“Spreading lies on social media sites would only cause panic and fear among our people. Let us be responsible for releasing information about the disease and again, we urge the public to trust only official sources like the website of the Department of Health,” Esquivel said. (PNA)