It’s expected to send more out in the coming days
The National Bureau of Investigation has sent out around 17 subpoenas to individuals that it deems to be spreading misinformation during the COVID-19 crisis, and expects to send more in the coming days.
The NBI’s Cybercrime Division has been monitoring social media channels for fake news, and if it warrants it, it starts investigations and sends subpoenas to the authors of the post to give them a chance to air their side.
Denying accusations from Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno that the NBI was sending subpoenas to netizens who air their sentiments over the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBI cybercrime chief said that they were only focusing on the revised penal code, “wherein any publication of false news which will have the tendency to endanger public order will be in violation of Article 154.”
“We are not focusing on comments (on social media). We are focusing on materials online that is in violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code,” he added, particularly on “factual error or malicious intent to populate false news that could endanger the public order.”
“That’s our main focus right now: false news related to COVID-19 that will have the tendency to endanger the public order. We focus our investigation on that, that’s why we sent subpoenas,” Lorenzo said.
The NBI is looking into several fake news stories that went viral in the past few weeks, including the ones about the supposed extension of the Luzon lockdown as well as the alleged spraying of chemicals by the military all over Luzon.