Manila: Authorities in the Philippines are considering filing charges against a prominent supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, over his alarming posts on social media.
National Capital Region Police Director Guillermo Eleazar announced on Saturday that officials were studying the possibility of filing criminal charges against blogger Drew Olivar for a post he made on Facebook last Friday.
In the post Olivar warned his social media followers to be careful if they planned to take part in mass actions that were planned on that day.
September 21 marks the 46th year since then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr issued Proclamation 1081 which placed the entire country under a State of Martial Law.
Activist groups from the Left had planned to hold their annual commemoration of the Martial Law.
“I’m scared to join the demonstrations at EDSA because there might be a repeat of the Plaza Miranda bombing,” Olivar said in Filipino in his Facebook post as he also referred to the main Metro Manila thoroughfare where demonstrations were usually held.
The September 21, 1972 Plaza Miranda bombing on the other hand, marks a dark chapter in the country’s history. The incident claimed the lives of nine people who were taking part in the Liberal Party political gathering in Manila’s downtown Quiapo district.
Right after Olivar made his post, the warning over a bomb threat went viral, causing alarm.
Eleazar, in a press briefing on Saturday afternoon where Olivar was also present, said the police were “taking seriously” any threats made concerning bombs or any explosive device.
“We had been receiving reports over a number of bomb threats during these past two years and we take all of these seriously,” the police official said.
Presidential Decree (PD) 1727 ideclares as “unlawful the malicious dissemination of false information or the wilful making of any threats concerning bombs and explosives or any other similar devices or means of destruction..”
The said, under the law, violators face imprisonment of a minimum of five years.
Eleazar said while the police were studying whether Olivar can be charged, he reminded the latter to be conscious of what he posts on social media.
The police official said instead of posting the matter on social media, Olivar should have first brought the matter to the police so that it will not cause unnecessary alarm.
“May this serve as a lesson to others,” he said.
Olivar is a known supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte. He is a familiar face on blogs and posts by another follower of the Philippine leader, Assistant Secretary for Social Media, Esther Margeux “Mocha” Uson.
The controversy over the alarming post by Olaiver is the latest involving the two social media personalities.
Just last week, Olivar and Mocha elicited strong criticism for poking fun at sign language communicators by mimicking their gestures in a video they posted in social media.
Before this in August, a viral post by Mocha and Olivar to promote the government’s federalism drive, was criticised for containing gestures perceived by some to be “lewd.”