NBI told to catch prankster behind Ebola hoax
MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe and file criminal charges against the person or persons behind the hoaxes on the alleged entry in the country of the dreaded Ebola virus.
“We’re looking into that. I am tasking the Office of the Cybercrime of (Department of Justice) and Anti-Cybercrime Division of (National Bureau of Investigation) to investigate that,” De Lima said in a text message to reporters.
De Lima said the source of the hoax could be held liable under two penal laws–Presidential Decree No. 90 of 1973, which penalizes rumor mongering and spreading false information and Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
“Under Sec. 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, all crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies are covered by the relevant provisions of said law,” she said.
She added that those who shared the original posts of the hoax technically aided in the spread of false information and could therefore be also held liable.
The DOJ chief ordered the probe upon request of the DOH, which earlier expressed alarm over the hoax that recently triggered online panic.
Based on an online report that surfaced on Viral Ninja (safeurlpath.com) and quoted a DOH employee named “Gemma Sheridan,” 18 Ebola cases have been reported in Quezon City.
The DOH officials denied that they have an employee by that name.
The government also appealed to the public not to initiate or help spread “unconfirmed and baseless reports,” especially on alarming issues like the Ebola disease.
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