PNP fake news victim

February 17, 2020
Archie Francisco F. Gamboa

Gamboa denies police combat pay donation yarn; optometrist blamed for virus scare in Cebu nabbed

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday categorically dismissed as fake news circulating in social media a report that he has ordered the donation of the Combat Duty Pay and Combat Incentive Pay of PNP personnel to the COVID-19 response operations of the government.  

“There is no truth to this lie being peddled by certain quarters to serve their own purpose,” he said in an official statement.

“While it is true that the PNP is extending support to the COVID-19 response operations, the amount I was referring to was the remaining balance of funds collected and donated by the PNP last January for Taal Volcano Eruption relief operations. Police personnel will continue to receive the full amount of monthly Combat Duty Pay and Combat Incentive Pay entitled to personnel assigned to operating units,” he stressed.

Gen. Gamboa said he has ordered the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group to investigate the people behind the circulation of the  fake news.  

Optometrist nabbed

A Cebu-based optometrist has been arrested and charged in court by the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group for allegedly spreading a false report on Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that triggered panic among Cebu City residents.

Charged with violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 6 and Section 4 (c) 4 (Online Libel) of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was Josephil Brian G. Consuelo alias CJ Brian Consuelo, an optometrist from Mandaue City who was identified as the author of a Facebook post that an alleged COVID-2019-stricken patient had died while undergoing treatment at the University of Cebu Medical Center.

According to PNP-ACG director, Brigadier General Dennis P. Agustin, the offense carries the penalty of arresto mayor and a fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000 or imprisonment for a minimum period of four years and one day to a maximum of eight years, per offense. The suspect was arrested on Thursday last week.

Agustin said that acting on the incident, his men from the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit 7 conducted a fact-checking and validated information which showed that the reports were all false as proven by an official statement from the UCMed’s Human Resource and Legal Officer.