Senator Bong Go has confirmed asking the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate social media posts that were critical of him.
"We wrote letters to the NBI requesting them to conduct investigations on certain social media posts that may fall under possible violations of the cybercrime law, particularly libel, and other applicable laws," Go said in a statement on Thursday, July 16.
Several subpoenas were sent by the NBI to individuals all over the country, one of whom is a college student who sent his lawyer to appear at their headquarters in Manila on Thursday.
The student's subpoena did not name Go as the complainant. Instead, it said the complaint was filed by the law firm Uy Cruz Lo & Associates, which is based in Davao.
Rappler obtained a copy of the letter from Uy Cruz Lo & Associates asking NBI Director Eric Distor to initiate an investigation on behalf of their client, Go.
NBI Cybercrime chief Vic Lorenzo has not responded to Rappler's text messages and calls as of this writing.
"Kung nag-subpoena ang NBI sa kanila, sagutin na lang nila dahil may proseso naman na magpoprotekta sa kanilang mga karapatan," said Go.
(If NBI sent subpoenas to them, they should just answer it because there is a process that protects their rights.)
Rappler obtained another subpoena for cybercrime sent to a person outside Metro Manila bearing the same law firm.
The person subpoenaed, whom Rappler talked to on the condition of anonymity, said the NBI has not returned to him with a confirmation of which post triggered the subpoena.
The individual said he also shared a post critical of Go.
The Supreme Court has already struck as unconstitutional the part of the cybercrime law which punished aiding and abetting of a cybercrime – in this context, the sharing of a supposedly libelous post.
Rappler spoke to a lawyer who assisted the individual, and said there were 3 other people spread across the country who received similar subpoenas.
None of them were told that Go was the complainant. They also have not been told which post is the subject of the complaint.
Rappler has reached out to the Uy Cruz Lo & Associates and Go's office but has not received a response as of this writing.
"Para sa mga kritiko, kung totoo ang sinasabi ninyo, ipagpatuloy 'nyo lang iyan. Nirerespeto namin ang karapatan at opinyon ninyo. Kung tingin ninyo ay wala kayong ginawang iligal, wala kayong dapat alalahanin," said Go.
(For the critics, if what you're posting is true, continue. We respect your rights and your opinion. If you think you didn't do anything illegal, you have nothing to be concerned about.)
The NBI earlier subpoenaed an individual who ranted on Facebook about the administration's spending, criticizing how the government did not initially have funds for health workers when it was earlier able to buy a P2 billion jet. – Rappler.com