ORMOC CITY-The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Naval, Biliran province lodged a criminal complaint against a 19-year-old woman who earlier claimed that she was kidnapped by a group of men on board a white van.
The police filed before the Prosecutor’s Office last Tuesday(Sept.13) against the teener for violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code which refers to unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances and for cybercrime under RA 10175.
The charges filed against her stemmed from her earlier claims that she was forcibly boarded in a white van by a group of armed men in Barangay Santissimo Rosario in Naval, the provincial capital, last August 20.
However, three days later, the teener, who is from Cabucgayan town, also in Biliran, recanted saying that she only made up the kidnapping incident as she issued a public apology to the Naval police and to the general public.
“I am sorry. There was no white van. There was no kidnapping. I apologize to the (Naval) police, to the mothers and parents who could have been worried because of what I have done,” she said during her August 23 public apology.
She also said that at that time she was having a ‘personal problem’ with someone and by concocting a kidnapping scenario, that person would rescue and comeback to her.
The local police had earlier conducted an extensive operation to find the teener and with the help and use of witnesses and CCTVs on the area where the alleged incident took place concluded that there was no kidnapping that took place.
They also found inconsistencies on the statements of the teener when she was questioned after she resurfaced and made her public apology.
Police Col. Dionisio Apas, Jr., the provincial director, said that the filing of the charges against the teener should serve as a warning against those who spread fake news that led to fear among the public.
“Please avoid spreading news or information that is unverified and would mislead, deceive, and cause fear to the public. Be more cautious when posting and sharing in social media, and always fact-check the authenticity of reports posted on social media so as not to fall victim to misinformation and disinformation,” he said in a statement.
“We guarantee among our law-abiding citizens that the full force of the law will be imposed against the suspect,” Apas added.
(JOEY A. GABIETA/ROBERT DEJON)