Rosito: Posting names of COVID-19 ‘victims’ was necessary to raise public awareness

By: Alven Marie A. Timtim - Reporter/CDN Digital | March 29,2020 - 11:33 AM

Lawyer Rommel Rosito | Contributed Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — “No regrets at all. Why should I be regretting knowing that that information could actually save lives?”

This was the statement of Lawyer Rommel Rosito, who was arrested on Saturday for posting unverified information on seven people whom he claimed tested positive of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Rosito’s online post included the names and addresses, and the names of the hospitals where these people were said to be admitted.

Read: Lawyer nabbed for spreading unverified info about COVID-19

In an interview this morning, March 29, 2020, Rosito said he is prepared to face whatever charges will be filed against him.  He said that he never regretted what he did to raise public awareness on the threats of the COVID-19.

Both the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7) and the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) had condemned Rosito’s action of spreading unvalidated claims.

The legal teams of the two government offices are now coordinating to prepare charges that will soon be filed against the lawyer.

Read: DOH-7, VSMMC mull filing case against person spreading unverified info

Rosito, who was already transferred to the detention facility of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO)  located along Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City, said that on the evening of March 26, 2020, he received a message from a “trusted source” sharing with him information on the seven individuals who were reportedly infected with COVID-19.

He shared the said list on his social media account the next day to “warn” Cebuanos on the matter.

While he did not name the source of his information, Rosito said that the Cebuanos deserve to know for their own protection.

“If they (Cebuanos) don’t know about this, they would just be in a guessing game. They wouldn’t know who to avoid,” said Rosito.

He said that it never occurred his mind that he could be violating laws with his intent to uphold the people’s right to information.

“I was thinking of the importance of life rather than the protection of just seven people if it were true,” said Rosito.

Rosito was arrested around 9 a.m. on March 28, in his residence in Barangay Basak Pardo by the Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7).

He will be facing charges for the violation of Republic Act 11332 or An Act on Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern; RA 10173, the Data Privacy Act; and RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Police Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro, PRO-7 director, has warned that the police will be going after those who will continue to post unverified information related to COVID-19. / dcb

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