Displaying items by tag: NBI

NBI to run after fake news purveyors

By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The government is acting on the spread of fake news in social networking sites that have misled the public, especially in connection with recent incidents of national significance.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been tasked to run after the sources of fake news that have been circulating on Facebook and Twitter.

Aguirre specifically directed the NBI to start with the fake news that circulated in social media following the attack on Resorts World Manila (RWM) last week and the attack in Marawi City by Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute group on May 23.

When the attack in RWM took place last June 2, several social media posts claimed the IS took responsibility for the attack even after a lone gunman, a former government employee addicted to gambling, was named.

The posts caused panic and fear among netizens.

Several media outfits also reported a statement of IS owning up to the attack at RWM from the terror group’s supposed website.

In the siege of Marawi City by local terror group Maute, several fake photos also circulated online and were even reported in mainstream media.

Also recently, several fake news items circulated on Facebook, including the supposed sympathy extended by former Commission on Human Right chair Etta Rosales to Maute militants and actress-singer Sharon Cuneta allegedly contracting HIV.

A video released by the IS’s Amaq news agency, taken in Marawi City as the siege entered its second week, showed some militants yelling “Allahu Akbar” while smashing religious icons and burning the church.

Clerics slammed the video as demonic and blasphemous, as it showed the militants ripping a picture of Pope Francis, toppling a crucifix and stomping on and torching statues.

The regional Darul Iftah in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) also branded the video as “un-Islamic.”

The Darul Iftah, also known as the House of Opinions, is a group of moderate clerics in the ARMM.

The group released a statement condemning the desecration of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi City, which they said is against the teachings of the Koran.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said vandalism of non-Islamic worship sites is a serious offense in Islam.

“The destruction of the church in Marawi City was done by people introducing themselves as Muslims but are not adhering to the teachings of Islam. They are not Muslims therefore,” Hataman said.

“They are so reckless in quoting verses in the Qu’ran in perverse manners to suit their perverse interests. They are unworthy of promises of divine graces from Allah,” he said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Eduardo Año said the Maute group is trying to spark a religious war in desecrating the church in Marawi.

He said the video, which was traced to the Middle East, was a carefully plotted but failed propaganda attempt aimed at further inflaming hatred among Muslims and Christians in the Philippines.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military has asked Facebook and other social media outfits to remove posts of the video. He also appealed to netizens not to share the video.

“There are videos circulating around regarding the armed elements destroying a church. We have requested that these be pulled out, because it may fan hate and it is intended by these militants to induce other Christian elements to fight against these armed elements or to sow hatred among Christians and Muslims,” Padilla said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

“Please do not spread this. Let us not buy into the plan of these terror groups to inflame the feelings of our other religions. This is not a religious war, this is a terror attack on the city of Marawi and we must be clear about it,” he added.

Padilla called on users of social networking sites to be responsible in sharing content, noting that many now get their news from the internet.

“The spreading of inaccurate news and disinformation can affect the minds of people. If they think it is true, the disinformation will grow and make it worse,” he said.

The Maute gunmen are still holding captive Fr. Teresito Suganob, the parish priest of Marawi City. 
Suganob and several volunteer church workers and worshippers were taken by the terrorists as they fled when soldiers arrived to drive them away.

A video also circulated online showing Suganob appealing to the President to stop the military offensives in Marawi City. – John Unson, Alexis Romero, AP

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NBI clears 18 people suspected of having ties with Maute group

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has cleared the 18 people earlier suspected by the government of supporting members of the ISIS-inspired Maute group who laid siege to Marawi City.

The 18 people with the surnames Maute and Bandrang include a two-year-old and 10-year-old children who surfaced at the NBI on Wednesday to clear themselves of involvement in the extremist group responsible for the Marawi attacks.

They were photographed, fingerprinted and interviewed about their personal circumstances and other information related to the Maute group.

The 18 individuals also underwent medical checkup on Thursday.

In a text message on Thursday, NBI spokesperson Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said all 18 have been cleared.

Their lawyer, Dalomilang Parahiman of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, said the fact that the group was allowed to go home was an indication that there is no legal basis to continuously hold them in custody.

Parahiman said the group, mostly composed of businessmen, was supposed to fly to Saudi Arabia for a religious pilgrimage only to find out recently that they had been included in the government's lookout order.

The lawyer insisted that they are law abiding citizens who traced their roots in Mulondo, Lanao Del Sur, which is several municipalities away from Butig, the hometown of Maute leaders Omar and Abdullah Maute. — RSJ, GMA News

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US-PH cooperation leads to successful anti-trafficking operation

Manila — The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines congratulates the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Human Trafficking Division for a successful operation resulting in the rescue of nine children and the arrest of Arlene and Emelinda Aringo for offering children for sexual acts in exchange for money.
This operation was undertaken thanks to close coordination between the NBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Manila, and HSI in Portland, Maine.
This operation was supported by the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development and the International Justice Mission, a non-governmental organization.
Arlene and Emelinda Aringo were arrested for violation of the Philippine Republic Act (RA) 9208, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 as amended by RA 10364, a non-bailable offense.

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