THREE vloggers accused of staging a kidnapping prank whose video went viral last April have been placed under arrest by agents of the Philippine National Police on orders of the court, PNP Public Information Office director, Brigadier General Redrico A. Maranan said yesterday.
The three were identified as Mark Heroshi San Rafael, Mark Lester San Rafael and Eleazar Steven Fuentes, all vloggers behind the so-called ‘Tokomi Vlog,’ said the PNP-PIO chief.
Police took custody of the trio who were all of legal age last August 1 on the strength of warrants of arrest for violation of Republic Act 513 of the Revised Penal Code otherwise known as alarm and scandal.
The three attracted national attention after posting a video of a kidnapping prank which went viral after a member of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group pulled his gun on them after thinking it was a real kidnapping case last April 6.
The incident triggered widespread public outrage and concern as it portrayed a meticulously orchestrated kidnapping scenario which could have gone awry when the PNP-IMEG agent identified as Staff Sergeant Ronnie Conmingo opened fire at them.
PSSgt. Conmingo played a pivotal role in unraveling the prank and formally lodged a complaint against the three.
The video, posted by the vlogger under the pseudonym “Tukomi Blog ” depicted a sophisticated fake kidnapping episode that transpired along Saging Street, Phase 2, Barangay CAA in Las Piñas City.
The ensuing public uproar prompted Conmigo to initiate a criminal complaint for alarm and scandal against the trio before the Office of the City Prosecutor last April 11.
Judge Lynnette May D Deloria-Manarang of the Las Piñas City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 124 issued the warrant of arrest against the three prompting the local police to apprehend them.
PNP chief, General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. said the incident must serve as a warning to all pranksters.
“The PNP remains steadfast in upholding the law and ensuring that individuals are held accountable for their deeds. Pranks that induce panic and disrupt public order cannot be taken lightly,” the top cop said as he commended his men for swift action on the case.
The trio were ordered released from police custody last August 2 by Judge Deloria-Manarang after they posted bail. Their arraignment was scheduled on August 10.
“ This incident serves as a poignant reminder of the imperative for responsible online conduct and the far-reaching consequences arising from flouting the law. The PNP’s decisive and principled action in this case unequivocally underscores its unwavering commitment to preserving public safety and order in the digital age,” said Brig. Gen. Maranan.