MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has launched a probe into Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) deputy administrator Mocha Uson over coronavirus-related fake news.
“Yes, she is being investigated by our Cybercrime Division (CCD) for fake news,” NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin told reporters Wednesday, May 13.
Lavin said Uson is required to appear before the NBI on May 18.
Lavin said the investigation is related to Uson’s Facebook post crediting the government for the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which were later fact-checked to have been donated by SM Foundation.
Uson, a sexy dancer who supported Duterte during the presidential campaign, runs a Facebook page rife with fake news that is amplified by pages all connected through a network of disinformation.
Lavin said Uson falls under an earlier Department of Justice (DOJ) order to investigate coronavirus-related fake news.
The DOJ order is questioned for its constitutionality, with human rights lawyers pointing out that it is a violation of the freedom of speech. (READ: In PH pandemic: Due process for allies, warrantless arrests for the rest)
“There was an order of the Secretary of Justice before for the NBI to investigate fake news, we included her in the investigation re posting of PPEs,” said Lavin.
Lavin said there also “other complaints against her.”
The NBI has sent more than a dozen subpoena to ordinary Filipinos over their social media posts, still under the order to investigate coronavirus fake news, including a post that criticizes the administration’s purchase of a P2-billion private jet when it was struggling to compensate health care frontliners. (PODCAST: Law of Duterte Land: Pandemic and the great wall of free speech)
The NBI also arrested a 25-year-old public school teacher for posting on Twitter that he will offer a P50-million reward to anyone who will “kill” President Rodrigo Duterte. The teacher faces charges of inciting to sedition related to cybercrime, and violation of the Code of Conduct of Public Officials.
Called out for selective investigation, the NBI said on Wednesday that it has also looked into the death threats against Vice President Leni Robredo. NBI media officer Nick Suarez, however, said that he has “no idea” about the status of the investigations. – Rappler.com