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NTC urged to probe ‘black ops’ texts
SENATE President Vicente Sotto III on Monday pressed the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to look into the persistent use of text messaging as a black propaganda tool to spread lies and fake news to smear the integrity of personalities or groups.
Sotto said the NTC must exercise its regulatory power over the country’s telecommunication firms and order them to hit the brakes on the continued use of text messaging as an instrument to spread disinformation.
“The people or groups behind text scams are able to access the mobile phone numbers of individuals. Paanong nakakapag-text sila sa mga phone numbers ng iba’t ibang telcos? Paano nila nakuha ang mga phone numbers? May kakuntsaba ba sila sa loob? Internal job ba ito? Kailangang sagutin ito ng NTC at ng mga telcos natin,” Sotto said.
Sotto made his remarks amid the spread of text messages alleging that he and Sen. Richard Gordon pressured their colleagues to sign the report issued by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee finding President Rodrigo Roa Duterte guilty of betrayal of public trust in connection with his actions related to the government’s multi-billion-peso contracts with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.
Aside from the President, the committee also recommended plunder, graft, and other criminal and administrative charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, former government officials, and Pharmally executives.
The circulating text message state: “No to Gordon & sotto pressuring other senators to sign their blue ribbon sham report. Continuing their TRIAL BY PUBLICITY IN AID OF ELECTION! MGA EPAL!”.
“Trabaho ng NTC na siguruhin ang integridad ng ating telecommunication industry. Paanong nakakalusot ang mga scam na tulad nito? Paulit-ulit na lang ito. Wala bang ginagawa ang NTC at ang mga telcos natin kung kaya’t tuloy-tuloy ang business nitong mga scammers na ito? Nananawagan ako sa NTC na mabilisang aksyunan at alamin kung paanong mapapahinto ang pagkalat ng mga scam tulad nito,” said Sotto, who is running for vice president in the May 9 elections.