CLAIM: The suspect in Sunday’s bombing of the Mindanao State University gymnasium is hiding in Davao City.
The claim is circulating in some Facebook accounts on Monday, one of them posted by Lyle that was shared by three others. Facebook user Lyle posted screenshots of the assessment report made by the Philippine National Police that identified the suspect, but it also added a screenshot of a Facebook message not included in the police report that claimed the bomber was spotted in City Hall.
“Nakita na gnina sa city hall nagtuyok2 (We spotted him going around city hall),” the message said, although it did not indicate which city).
Another Facebook user, Sophy, also claimed the suspect is in Davao City, which is shared by 11 people.
FACTS: The Philippine National Police identified on Monday, December 4, the suspect behind the bombing of the MSU gym, but has not located the whereabouts of the suspect.
They identified a certain Khadafi Mimbesa, a resident of Masiu, Lanao del Sur with aliases Engineer, Kadi and Akoya, as a bomb expert and sub-leader of the Daulah Islamiyah Maute Group operating in Lanao del Sur.
Police and military officers have not given account as to where the suspect’s location is, but authorities have raised alert status in borders and cities for security and identification of possible suspects.
The Davao City Information Office advises the public to refrain from spreading unverified and assured that the Davao City police and military units are on alert to secure the city.
“There is no truth to the message circulating on social media alleging that the bombing suspect was seen in Davao City. We ask everyone to refrain from sharing unverified information such as this.”
“The security sector is on top of the security situation in the city. Nevertheless, we encourage every Dabawenyo to always practice the Culture of Security by cooperating with security checks and reporting any suspicious individuals or activities including unattended luggages within Davao City,” the CIO said in a statement.
Spreading unverified information after a bombing incident is common in the country. Particular to this incident, many versions of such disinformation are spreading on social media, placing the suspect in different locations.
There is no law that penalizes disinformation, but there is an anti-bomb joke law, or PD 1727 enacted way back in 1989, that penalizes the unlawful dissemination of false information or the willful making of any threat concerning bombs, explosives or any similar device or means of destruction.
The offenders were reportedly charged with violation of PD 1727, in relation to Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act; one of the cases above was also charged for violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Davao Today is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email email@example.com, Marawi, Mindanao, MSU