Suspect to be arrested for 'cyber sedition' related to Marawi crisis
MANILA, Philippines – One person will soon be arrested for spreading terrorist propaganda online in relation to the Marawi crises, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima said on Tuesday, June 13.
“May huhulihin na (Someone will soon be arrested), cyber sedition,” Salalima said during a Palace news briefing on Tuesday.
This person is believed to be behind online propaganda in support of efforts to overthrow or subvert the authority of the Philippine government.
In a chance interview, Salalima confirmed the person’s online activities are related to the plot of terrorists, led by the Maute Group, to take over Marawi City.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is “involved” in efforts to track down social media accounts aiding terrorists responsible for the Marawi siege, said Salalima.
“To the extent that they commit cyber crimes, then DICT takes over,” he said.
If operations go smoothly, it’s likely that more than one person will be arrested in the coming days for cyber sedition, the Cabinet official hinted.
“We were able to track about more than one [suspect] last night,” said Salalima.
The DICT chief refused to give more details about the arrest to be made and the agency’s operations against terrorist social media accounts.
On June 9, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) requested Facebook Philippines to take down 63 accounts being used by the Maute Group and their sympathizers to spread propaganda.
“These 63 accounts are spreading malicious information that affect the information landscape and mindset of every Filipino,” said Army 1st Infantry Division spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera in a Davao City press conference.
AFP spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla also asked Filipino netizens not to spread terrorist propaganda, including a video of terrorists in Marawi ransacking a Catholic Church. He said such videos are used by terrorists to fan hatred between religious groups.
The Islamic State or ISIS, an international terror group the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf leaders have pledged allegiance to, is known for its use of social media to spread propaganda and recruit members. (READ: How to fight ISIS on social media)
The group has designated Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon as its "emir" in Southeast Asia. Taking over Marawi City was supposed to have been the first major step towards the establishment of an ISIS wilayat or province in Mindanao. – Rappler.com
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