ICPO links with PNP anti-cybercrime unit; hints at suing disinformation peddlers

By Jennifer P. Rendon

The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), too, is willing to go after disinformation peddlers.

Colonel Leo Batiles, Iloilo City police chief made the reiteration following fake news reports of alleged abduction that went viral on social media.

For the nth time, Batiles said there’s no truth to such reports.

And it looks like police authorities have too much on their plate than repeatedly telling the public what to believe and what not to.

Batiles revealed that they are now coordinating with the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (RACU-6) to identify the persons behind the proliferation of fake abduction reports.

The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group serves as the primary unit responsible for the implementation of pertinent laws on cybercrimes and anti-cybercrime campaigns of the PNP and the national government.

“We will file charges for spreading unvalidated reports on social media that brought panic to the public,” he said.

He likewise said he would not have second thoughts about going after those who spread misinformation and disinformation.

Batiles noted that netizens have been sharing on social media a post about a kidnapping incident involving two female students in front of the West Visayas State University main campus in La Paz district.

But Batiles stressed there was no incident regarding the abduction of two students, as stated by the Iloilo City Police Station 2.

The city top cop appealed to the public to be more responsible about what they post and share over their social medial accounts.

“If you received any report, you could directly report it to the nearest police station in your area for the polices’ to verify its validity. Please avoid spreading news that is unvalidated because it may cause an alarm to the public,” Batiles said.

The other day, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) also warned netizens that posting fake reports or misleading information on any social media platform is a crime.

The IPPO pointed this out in response to several Facebook posts of netizens claiming that abduction incidents occurred in their respective locality, or that their relatives have been victims of kidnapping.

Colonel Adrian Acollador, Iloilo police chief, explained that posting and sharing of fake news may endanger public order.

It can also cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.

He cited Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code which prohibits and penalizes the unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances.

Under the said law, fake news is considered a “public disorder” which 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…”