AKG-7, CCPO investigating use of ‘recycled’ photos of kidnapping on social media
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Authorities here clarified that there were no verified kidnapping and attempted kidnapping in the Visayas, particularly in Cebu City, to date.
Police Lieutenant Zosimo Ravanes Jr., deputy officer of the Anti-Kidnapping Group Visayas Field Unit, said that they are now coordinating with the anti cybercrime unit in investigating and identifying those who circulated recycled photos of alleged kidnapping and attempted kidnapping incidents online on Monday, August 22, 2022.
In Cebu City, Police Lieutenant Colonel Janette Rafter, deputy director for operations of the Cebu City Police Office, said that they already coordinated with the anti cybercrime unit to possibly trace the person who was responsible for spreading this false information that is worrying some netizens.
Rafter added that if one will be proved to have committed this, he or she will face cases for spreading false information.
Ravanes, for his part, said that they received initial reports about these incidents in the city but when they verified this with the local police, Ravanes said that it was not reported.
He was referring to initial reports on kidnapping in a university located along Natalio Bacalso Avenue and Urgello Street during the opening of in-person classes on Monday.
Rafter said that the incident that happened in Urgello Street was not an attempt to kidnap. Instead, a beggar who was loitering around the area reportedly touched a child’s arm. Coincidentally, a white vehicle also passed by the area.
On reports of an alleged kidnapping incident near a university along Natalio Bacalso Avenue, she said that this, too, was not true.
However, a certain Nelson, who is a motorcycle-for-hire driver, told CDN Digital that he saw on Monday evening, past 10 p.m., a person who was forced inside a white car while standing near a university along N. Bacalso Avenue. It was his post that went viral.
Nelson said that he had no plans of creating a narrative because he, too, was traumatized from what he saw on that night. He even made his post private after receiving bashes from the public, alleging him of spreading false information.
But he was sure of what he saw.
He said he clearly saw two persons forcing another individual inside a sedan and then leave hurriedly. He even followed the sedan but one of the occupants allegedly shouted at him and told him not to follow them. Nelson said that he reported this incident to the police.
Police is expected to get a statement from Nelson regarding this incident.
Not a reason to be complacent
Ravanes admitted that the AKG-VFU is alarmed about this incident. That is why they are intensifying their monitoring and preemptive measures against kidnapping. They are also coordinating with other law enforcement agencies over this concern.
“Bisan tinuod nga wala panay kamatuoran ang atoang mga nadawat ug nakita sa social media, magbinatayon gihapon ta. Dili ta mag complacent kay walay mga proof. Atoa ni i take seriously. The more na mag amping ta, magbinantayon ta,” Ravanes said.
Ravanes and Rafter further appeal to the public to report immediately to authorities should they have knowledge or witness an incident and not prioritize posting it online first and cause panic to people.
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