Privacy body gets bomb threat, manhunt for perpetrator ongoing
The National Privacy Commission (NPC) on Friday received an online bomb threat, about an hour after it ended a meeting with GCash representatives over the temporary disappearance of money from the accounts of the e-wallet firm’s users.
The bomb threat, posted on the NPC’s Facebook account, prompted the government agency to evacuate the commission’s office at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City and suspend office work for the rest of the day.
“Time bomb set on your building starts now,” read the threatening post under the Facebook account of a certain Angelo Iglesias past 11 a.m., shortly after the NPC ended a meeting with GCash representatives, which started at 10 a.m.
Based on the Facebook account’s profile, Iglesias called himself a “digital creator” and hailed from Imus, Cavite. He created the account in April 2014 and has 292 followers.
The NPC called the meeting to clarify facts about the complaints of GCash customers that they were missing cash from their accounts.
“I want to assure the public that we are taking this bomb threat very seriously, and we have implemented all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of our premises and personnel,” John Henry Naga, chair of the NPC, said in a statement.
The Pasay City police bomb squad was dispatched to secure the PICC area and defuse any explosives that may be found, but the police had yet to make a statement at press time.
“We have already coordinated with the relevant authorities and will be working closely with them to ascertain the credibility and origin of the threat,” Naga said.
Since 1980, it has been illegal to disseminate false information about any threat concerning bombs or explosives under Presidential Decree No. 1727. The crime is unbailable and may be penalized with imprisonment of not more than five years, or a fine not exceeding P40,000, or both.
The crime may also Republic Act No. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which metes even longer imprisonment and bigger fine.
In another statement, the NPC said that it has already coordinated with the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center to track down the perpetrator, although the NPC said it had no information about the motives of the poster or whether it was related to any pending case.
Naga stressed that “I want to emphasize that the National Privacy Commission remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting the privacy rights of every Filipino citizen. Our work is vital in fostering trust in the digital landscape, and we will not be deterred by any acts of intimidation or threats.”
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