By Aaron Recuenco
A 21-year old man, who posted on Facebook that he was almost abducted by kidnappers using a white van, was taken by policemen using a white patrol car instead for spreading fake news that caused panic among Cebu residents and netizens.
Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, director of the Central Visayas regional police, identified him as Brigs Granada Alvaro, of Sitio Taboc, Barangay Lo-oc in Danao City.
De Leon said he immediately ordered his commanders to be on alert and monitor social media posts about the kidnapping of minors since the alleged white van kidnapping was already causing panic in Metro Manila.
Recently, police monitored the post of Alvaro narrating how he was almost kidnapped by unidentified man and woman on board a white van in Danao City. The post was written in Cebuano.
Col. Roderick Mariano, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, said that he immediately ordered the local police of Danao City to verify the report.
“Through that post, our police were able to identify the account owner and his location,” said Mariano.
Lt. Col. Maribel Getigan, director of the Danao City Police, said she immediately sent investigators to the area, along with representatives from the local government.
During the confrontation, Alvaro allegedly admitted that he just made up the entire story of white van kidnapping.
“He offered a statement that the post was a mere false story and his intention is to give warning only to those young adults who are always roaming around the city during night time,” said Getigan.
But despite the admission and apology, Getigan said that Alvaro will not be spared for what she describes as irresponsible actions that caused panic among local residents.
The Facebook post was made amid reports of abductions of teenagers by still unidentified groups of men using vans in Metro Manila.
The social media posts claimed that abducted victims were being harvested of their vital organs for unknown reason.
“His action of posting malicious message to the social media had caused panic to the public which is tantamount to criminal offense,” said Getigan.
A case of violation of the Revised Penal Code, particularly Alarm and Scandal in relation to (Cyber Crime Law), Section 6, Republic Act 10175 is now being readied against Alvaro.
But Getigan said that Alvaro will be first assessed by experts from the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).
“He is up for psychological assessment whether or not he is on his normal state of mind,” said Getigan.
It was recalled that the social media posts about white van kidnapping was repeatedly debunked by the police who called the posts as fake news.