The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has created “Task Force Kontra Fake News” that will go after fake news meant to undermine the electoral process, Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said in a press briefing.
“That is our, to make a point, that we are so desirous in eliminating any attempt by anyone, by any individual to destroy the credibility of our electoral process,” Garcia said.
“Any misinformation directed against the integrity (of the Comelec), we will go after them. We will file a case against them,” he added.
Garcia warned the public against false information usually spread through social media.
He said the Comelec would tap the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for investigation and to ensure that people behind the fake news would be prosecuted.
“We will utilize the full force of the law, including the combined forces of the PNP and the NBI-Cybercrime to track down these individuals,” Garcia stressed.
He clarified though that Task Force Kontra Fake News will not go after individuals who criticize or oppose the Comelec.
Garcia said the creation of the task force would enable the poll body to better investigate and file appropriate charges against those who spread rumors that undermine the integrity of the election process.
An example of such false reports is the rumor that official ballots have been illegally obtained from the National Printing Office (NPO) and are now circulating in public.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said his department will help the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Iin going after peddlers of fake news that may undermine the integrity of the poll body and the election process.
“Purveying false news that affect public interest or public order is a criminal offense that falls squarely within the mandate of the DOJ/NBI to investigate and prosecute,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra made the statement after Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said he would seek the help of the NBI and the Philippine National Police to go after purveyors of fake news.
As in the case of the Comelec’s campaign against vote buying, the DOJ is ready to extend help to the poll body, he said.
With 33 days left before the May 9 national and local elections, Garcia said the creation of such a task force would enable them to better investigate and file appropriate charges against those who spread rumors that may raise questions on the integrity of the electoral process.
He cited the false reports circulating in the social media that claim that a number of official ballots have been illegally obtained from the National Printing Office (NPO) and are now circulating in public.
There was also allegedly a video stating that the elections are over, that the candidates already have the votes, and that there was a 100 percent voter turnout.