Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año has formally filed a complaint against the perpetrator of fake news circulated on social media allegedly quoting him as advising couples to practice physical distancing after sex.
This was confirmed by DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya after the Philippine National Police (PNP) completed its investigation and identified the culprit as Gabriel Marvin Cabier, a 26-year-old resident of Cebu City.
“Opisyal na pong nakapagsampa ng kaso si DILG Secretary Año sa nagpakalat ng malisyoso at maling impormasyon na nagsasabing sinabi niya diumano na mag-physical distancing ang mga couple matapos mag-sex. Ang pagsasampa natin ng kaso ay isang paalala na maging responsable po tayo sa ating ipinopost sa social media. Gamitin po natin ito para sa kabutihan lalo na at tayo ay nahaharap sa isang matinding krisis,” Malaya said.
"Our freedom of expression is not absolute especially if it distorts facts. This freedom cannot be used to spread fake news or to dish out disinformation,” he added.
Malaya said that cases were filed against Cabier for violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code (Unlawful Use of Means of Publication and Unlawful Utterances) in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and Article 142 RPC as amended by Presidential Decree 1974 in relation to RA 10175.
He said that the criminal cases were filed with the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on August 20, 2020 after Mr. Cabier caused the posting of a Facebook page “One Ride One Shot” which contained the fake news and which had 11,000 shares, 3,600 reactions and 1,900 comments as of 1:20 PM of August 11, 2020. Malaya said that the administrator of the said page was confirmed by the PNP-CIDG to be Cabier.
“We pushed through with the filing of criminal cases as a warning to all would-be perpetrators of fake news to think twice before they do something similar. We will prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. Mali po ito at hindi po natin ito dapat kunsintihin,” Malaya said.
As of this writing, the DILG is awaiting the subpoena to be released by the Investigating Prosecutor while the said controversial post has since been deleted by the administrator of the page.
In the Visayan language, Cabier’s malicious post circulated like wildfire to the dismay of many government officials including DILG Secretary Año who was maliciously attributed to be the source of the news.
The said viral post used the picture of Año with the following text “Yowooo na! Wala na jud ko kasabot aning kalakihan ani man jud ni padong ba... Feel nako ang neurons anis utok nagsocial distancing na pud ba hays. #photoolmine. #memes” which translates to “After mag-sex dapat may physical distancing na din sila. Para sure na walang covid ang bawat isa."
“In this time of public health emergency, it is unfortunate that some people stoop so low and waste their time and energy to spread fake news and sow disinformation to malign people such as Secretary Año, himself a COVID survivor, who has been tirelessly working to defeat COVID-19 in his capacity as Vice Chair of NTF COVID-19. We urge these people to use their creative minds instead on how they can complement the efforts of the government in spreading the right information and helping those in need,” he added.