Lawyer nabbed for posting list of COVID patients online

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    A LAWYER was arrested by policemen in Cebu City on Friday for reportedly posting online an unverified list of COVID-19 patients, the Central Visayas police office reported on Saturday night.

    Police said Rommel Rosito, 50, was nabbed by operatives of the regional police intelligence personnel at Fairview Hills in Barangay Basak Pardo. He is facing charges for violation of provisions of Republic Acts 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Events of Public Health Concern Act), RA 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal as One Act), and RA 10173 (Data Privacy Act), all in relation to RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act).

    Police said Rosito recently posted on his Facebook page a list of supposed COVID-19 patients, which authorities believe is a violation of the Data Privacy Act and Anti-Cybercrime Law.

    Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, chief of the Central Visayas police, warned the public against unauthorized disclosure of the information about COVID-19 patients, saying this puts the patients in an “uncomfortable situation and stirs public panic in Central Visayas.”

    Ferro also warned the public against posting false information, assuring them of arrest regardless of their socio-economic status.

    On Saturday morning, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac announced that Mayor Dino Reyes Chua of Noveleta town in Cavite and two others were charged for allegedly spreading fake news about COVID-19.

    Col. Julius Suriben, chief of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group-Calabarzon, reiterated the ACG’s warning to internet users to think before sharing information on cyberspace.

    “We remind the people not to immediately share information on the Facebook. Fact-check them first with the proper agencies. If we do this (spreading false information), we’re not becoming part of the solution but we’re becoming part of the problem,” said Suriben.

    Suriben said the government, specifically the ACG, has stepped up operations against peddlers of fake information amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Be careful because if you post false information and cause panic or alarm or impede operations of the government, we are going to file charges against you. Please think before you click always,” said Suriben.