NBI arrests social media user offering P50-million for Duterte's killing

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
NBI arrests social media user offering P50-million for Duterte's killing
This file photo shows the profile page of social media site Twitter. A teacher's tweet offering reward for anyone who can kill President Rodrigo Duterte landed him a complaint from the National Bureau of Investigation.

MANILA, Philippines (2nd update 3:51 p.m.) — The National Bureau of Investigation arrested a teacher over his post offering reward for killing President Rodrigo Duterte.

NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin, also bureau spokesperson, confirmed to reporters that its agents arrested a 25-year-old public high school teacher who posted on Twitter that he is offering a P50-million reward to anyone who can kill the president.

The bureau’s Dagupan office arrested the teacher, who was later identified by NBI Officer-in-Charge Eric Distor as Ronnel Mas.

In a separate statement, NBI said the bureau received information on Mas’ post that read: “I will give P50 Million reward kung sino makakapatay kay Duterte.”

“Operatives of [NBI-Dagupan District Office] then began to track Mas whereabouts by tracing the links of the comments on his post,” the NBI said.

Lavin added that the arrested social media user is now up for inquest. He is facing complaints of Inciting to Sedition in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials.

Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code states that inciting to sedition can be done through speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners or other representations “that tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices.”’

A video posted by The STAR showed the arrested teacher tearfully saying to “think carefully” before posting, “especially if you have dreams in life.”

NBI cybercrime probes

The NBI said early April that they sent out dozens of “invitations” to individuals under its fact-finding probe into social media posts bearing false news.

The Bayanihan to Heal as One act prohibits the spread of false information regarding the COVID-19 crisis on social media.

RELATED: During state of emergency, 'Bayanihan' Act allows imprisonment for 'false information'

At least one of NBI’s “invitations” cited a violation of the decades-old Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code on the “unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances.”

NBI summoned a Facebook user that lamented “misused” taxpayers' money. He pointed out that the Philippines had money to buy a private jet for the use of top officials, money that he said could have been spent for healthcare instead.

The bureau has yet to respond to Philstar.com’s repeated requests for data on fact-finding investigation and complaints filed over fake news posts since the declaration of a public health emergency. 

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