‘Bistek’ cries phone breach, disowns texts endorsing bets
The Quezon City police have launched an investigation into the apparent security breach involving a cell phone used by Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista, after text messages supposedly endorsing local political candidates were sent out using his number on Wednesday night.
Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr., director of the Quezon City Police District, said an anticybercrime team had been tapped to look into the matter, which, according to one of Bautista’s aides, had left the mayor “really mad.”
Ares Gutierrez, chief of the city’s public affairs office, said the breach was discovered after some barangay officials present during a local government award ceremony in Cubao on Wednesday received the text messages from Bautista’s number.
The messages conveyed an endorsement of Representatives Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo and Winston Castelo of the city’s 1st and 2nd district, respectively, who are rumored to be running for mayor and vice mayor in next year’s elections.
‘Data privacy violation’
Gutierrez maintained that Bautista, who is on his third and final term and reportedly aspiring for a higher elective post, had yet to endorse any candidate in the 2019 local polls.
“He was really mad,” Gutierrez told the Inquirer. The text messages, he said, were not reflected in the message folders of the mayor’s phone.
“The mayor was a victim of a data privacy violation,” Gutierrez said. “The perpetrator may not have taken physical control of the mayor’s phone, but there are many ways nowadays to skirt around this and still use his number, which he had been open about to his constituents.”
Aside from the QCPD, a telecommunications company has been asked to help in the investigation, he added.
“It’s the political season and maybe they (whoever was behind the breach) are trying to drive a wedge between various camps,” he said. “But the mayor himself has not announced his own plans.”
Aside from the rumored Crisologo-Castelo tandem, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and Councilor Gian Carlo Sotto were also said to be eyeing the top government posts in Metro Manila’s largest city. — WITH A REPORT FROM CEDRIX PEREZ
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