Senate President Vicente Sotto III yesterday urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to look into the persistent use of text messaging or “black propaganda.”
Sotto said text messaging was used to relay that he and Sen. Richard Gordon pressured their colleagues to sign the report issued by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee finding President Duterte guilty of betrayal of public trust in connection with his actions related to the government’s multi-billion-peso contracts with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.
He said this is being used as a tool to spread lies and fake news to smear the integrity of personalities or groups.
The circulating text message state: “No to Gordon & Sotton pressuring other senators to sign their blue ribbon sham report.Continuing their TRIAL BY PUBLICITY IN AID OF ELECTION! MGA EPAL!”
The NTC, Sotto said, must exercise its regulatory power over the country’s telecommunication firms and order them to hit the brakes on the continued use of text messaging as an instrument to spread disinformation.
He said it is the job of the NTC to ensure the integrity of our telecommunication industry. He called on the NTC to immediately act and determine how to stop the spread of similar scams.
“The people or groups behind text scams are able to access the mobile phone numbers of individuals. How can they text phone numbers of different telcos? How did they get the phone numbers? Are they in cahoots with insiders? Is this an internal job. when will the NTC and telcos answer us,” said Sotto, who is running for vice president in the May 9 elections.
Aside from the President, the committee also recommended plunder, graft and other criminal and administrative charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, former government officials, and Pharmally executives.