Lawyer nabbed for COVID-19 post
Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - March 30, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  A lawyer in Cebu City was arrested by the police for posting a list of supposed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients online, which authorities said violates at least three laws.

The Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 in coordination with the Regional Intelligence Division (RID)-7 and the Department of Health (DOH)-7 arrested Atty. Rommel Rosito in Fairview Hills, Basak Pardo last Friday.

Rosito is facing charges for violating the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Events of Public Health Concern Act, Data Privacy Act of 2012, and the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012.

Rosito told reporters he posted the information following a message sent to a chat group he is a part of, which reminded them to avoid the people in the list. The list also includes the supposed patients’ addresses and hospitals they were supposedly admitted.

He said he trusted the information to be legitimate. It read, “Iwasan mo kasi sabi ng Doctor.”

"So ang nahitabo, naa say nangutana sa amoa, because it was sent to our group chat, so I was thinking about the importance of life rather than just the protection of the 7 people if it were true," Rosito said.

"If they wouldn't know about this, they will be just in a guessing game, they wouldn't know who to avoid," he said.

"Because if everyone is fully informed then they would know who to avoid, and I was thinking you should know the person because how would you be able to know the contacts of the person if you wouldn't know their name?" he added.

Rosito said further that some people even called him up after he posted the list telling him that those in the list are indeed COVID-19 patients.

He said he will face the charges and he does not regret his post as it was meant to raise awareness.

“No regrets at all, why should I be regretting knowing that that information could actually save lives?” he said.

In a statement on Saturday, PRO-7 Director Albert Ignatius Ferro said the police will continue to run after those who will post unverified information related to COVID-19 online.

As of Sunday, Rosito is detained at the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) as he awaits the filing of the charges against him. JMO (FREEMAN)

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