Spreaders of fake kidnap, rape incidents in S. Mindanao face raps

August 27, 2022 People's Tonight 1159 views

INVESTIGATORS from the Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 are readying criminal charges against a Southern Mindanao resident identified as the one behind the spreading of fake news regarding wanton criminal activities in the region which triggered public alarm, the Journal Group learned on Saturday.

According to PRO11 director, Brigadier General Benjamin H. Silo Jr., he ordered the investigation and filing of criminal charges against individuals who post and make public any false or fake news that endanger public order in the region.

He referred to the series of fake news and information about incidents of alleged holdups, kidnappings and rape incidents in Davao City, Digos City and Panabo City.

The official said members of the PRO11 Regional Special Operations Group, Regional Intelligence Division, Davao City Police Office and the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit joined hands in conducting a thorough investigation of the fake news.

Silo said that eventually, they were able to identify 18-year-old Charles Japhet Lagagradante Luzada, a resident of Toril, Davao City, as the person behind the fake social media posts, specifically the alleged robbery-holdup incidents in the city.

He said that Luzada has since issued a public apology on his social media account for posting fake news.

Nevertheless, the PRO11 director said his investigators are now preparing complaints for violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code against the accused.

The said law penalizes “any person who by means of printing, lithography, or any other means of publication shall publish or cause to be published as news any false news which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.”

Silo said Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 also states that penalties for crimes committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be one degree higher.

He said guilty offenders face a six-month jail term and a fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000.

“Fake news spreading in social media is very alarming, it has already caused panic and fear to the people, likewise, discredits the effort of our police in maintaining peace and order,” said the Southern Mindanao police commander.

“We hope that this will serve as warning to the public to avoid spreading false information and posting fake news on any social media platforms. We will also pursue and investigate any post which may affect public safety and order,” he added.

Silo reiterated their commitment to the public to safeguard their community by providing maximum effort and police visibility to deter the commission of crimes in the region.

At the same time, he encourages Southern Mindanao residents to remain vigilant at all times, never hesitate to report any suspicious activities to the nearest police station and cooperate with the law enforcement authority.