Another netizen to face charges

POLICE are set to file charges against another netizen for posting another kidnapping hoax on social media.

This time the supposed incident happened in the City of Talisay, southern Cebu.

Maj. Gerard Ace Pelare, chief of the Talisay City Police Station, said they are currently reviewing the charges to be filed against a Talisay City resident who posted the hoax on Facebook.

Pelare said the post stemmed from an incident on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, when a mother sought the help of Barangay Jaclupan officials and reported that her eight-year-old daughter was stopped by a van.

The netizen, who was at the barangay hall at the time, took a video of the mother without her consent and uploaded it on FB.

The post which went viral led people to panic.

“There is criminal liability when you create panic. They should not jump to conclusions. Just because someone heard a report, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically true,” Pelare said.

“This is the second incident, first in Danao, now in Talisay. All are proven hoax or unverified, so that should give us a warning that the possibility of it is very small,” Pelare added in a mix of English and Cebuano.

The post came to the attention of Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. after he received several concerned messages from Talisay residents.

Gullas immediately called for a police investigation.

Pelare said they found out that the alleged kidnapping incident was a hoax.

“In our investigation, it was all paranoia because the children keep on saying that there is a van that abducts children. But the passengers of the van were only asking for directions. However, the child panicked,” said Pelare.

Police, he said, may charge the netizen for alarm and scandal and for violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law.

“Of course, people should always be watchful. But do not post unverified information,” Pelare said.

Pelare contacted the Danao City police regarding the fake kidnap news in Danao which was posted on FB earlier this week.

He is also consulting the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit on the possible charges to file against the netizen.

Meanwhile, Gullas on his FB page posted a warning to all Talisaynons.

“Let this be a lesson to our fellow ‘Talisaynon,’ especially those who are very active in social media: First, verify before posting. We encourage you to check your posts before you share them on Facebook. It may be libelous or can hurt the reputation of another person,” Gullas said.

“If you have concerns regarding these alleged kidnapping incidents being posted on Facebook, instead of sharing it to others, talk to your policemen,” the mayor added. (FMD/RSR)


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