MANILA, Philippines - A hacker has posted online what he claimed were President Aquino’s personal mobile phone numbers.
Presidential Commu-nications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang would not confirm if the numbers were really the President’s, or if their release on the Internet had compromised the Chief Executive’s personal security or state secrets.
“It’s cyber vandalism plain and simple,” Carandang said. “We are dealing with it. That’s all I can say for now.”
The three mobile numbers were posted late Friday on the Facebook site of a certain #pR.is0n3r. The post received more than a hundred shares within 12 hours after it was posted.
One of the numbers had the reference “25 Times St. Quezon City,” the President’s home address. The other two included “S 510 House of Representatives Batasan Complex,” Aquino’s office address when he was still a member of the House of Representatives as Tarlac’s second district representative.
Malacañang has yet to confirm if the numbers were indeed owned by the President.
Talk to the President
The owner of the Facebook account urged friends and followers, who number more than 9,000 as of yesterday, to communicate directly with the President.
“We want to (contact him directly) and tell him the things that we want to happen. (We want to tell him) the sentiments of the Filipino people,” the account owner wrote in Filipino.
The Facebook post was linked to a Twitter micro-blog site with the same user name.
In a message sent to The STAR, #pR.is0n3r, who agreed to be referred to as a “he,” said this is not the right time to disclose the source of the numbers. But he said he was “100 percent” sure that they were the President’s.
He said Aquino has a lot of personal numbers, but three of these are enough for the people to reach him.
The author claimed he belongs to the hacker group “Anonymous Philippines.” The group is believed to be behind the hacking of various local and international websites during the height of issues such as the Panatag Shoal dispute with China, the Sabah incident, and the passage of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
While declining to name his source, #pR.is0n3r cited his previous posts showing that there are government officials supporting their cause.
“Ordinary people aren’t just the ones who don’t like what is happening now,” the hacker said.
“The President is very silent when it comes to national issues. We want to hear him,” added #pR.is0n3r.
Aside from Aquino, #pR.is0n3r said he has the personal numbers of other people, but did not release them, citing that of presidential sister Kris Aquino, because their focus involves national issues.
He said he has no plans to release the other numbers.
When asked if he received a reply from the supposed numbers of the President, the hacker told The STAR he only received a message containing three question marks.
“That’s just his reply,” he said, noting that it will be up to the President if he will listen to the voice of the people.
He said that while they can give the people direct access to the President, they don’t have the capability to make the President listen to the sentiments of the public.
He reminded those who saw the numbers to use the information correctly, saying that what they are doing is not a joke.
#pR.is0n3r admitted that releasing Aquino’s phone numbers was wrong but said it was the only way to get directly in touch with the highest official in the country.
“It’s hard to talk to someone if you have to go through a lot of things. It’s hard to write to someone when you are not sure if your message will be received,” the account owner said.
#pR.is0n3r added that they would continue to use technology to serve as the voice of the people.
Several people who commented on the Facebook post noted that the numbers were unavailable when they tried to call them.
In a reply, #pR.is0n3r said all three numbers were ringing as of 7 p.m. Friday. The user said he was able to send 30 messages each to the three numbers before releasing them.