Ecija mayor sues SK chair, accomplice for spreading fake COVID-19 news about husband’s death

TALAVERA, Nueva Ecija – Municipal mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez has filed criminal charges against a barangay youth council chair and a tricycle driver, who were subsequently arrested after spreading fake news in the social media saying her husband supposedly died due to COVID-19 and that people should shun her because of this.

Town police head Lt. Col. Alexie Desamito identified those nabbed as Michael Ramos, 25, Sangguniang Kabataan barangay chair, and Billy Arimbuyutan, 26, tricycle driver, both of Bgy. Andal Alino this town.

Martinez, who was still grieving following the recent death of her husband Marvin due to a lingering illness, sued the two suspects for conspiring in posting the said fake news in the Facebook account of Arimbuyutan saying people should avoid the mayor because her husband died due to the killer virus.

"Attention please my ncov po ang asawa ni neriv covid 19 kinamatay ng asawa nya wag po lumapit kay neriv santos dilikado payan dapat iquartine po yan pakalat kalat pa po sa kalsada pakishare po para malaman ng taga talavera," said Arimbuyutan's FB account, which was uploaded on March 28.

Desamito said the false FB post brought extreme anxiety on the part of the bereaved victim and also endangered public order and triggered confusion among the mayor's constituents.

During the operation, Desamito said they confiscated from Ramos an OPPO A37 cell phone,  believed to be the one used in posting the fake news and two Nokia mobile phones from Arimbuyutan.

Case officer SSgt. Gilbert Dizon said charges for violations of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code, Republic Act 10175 and Republic Act 11469 have already been filed against the arrested suspects before the provincial prosecutor's office here.

Dizon said the two suspects managed to post said fake news due to their drunkenness.