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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Police identify suspects in Taguig school bomb threat

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Police have identified the persons behind the recent bomb scare at Taguig City’s Signal Village National High School which caused fear and alarm to residents, particularly families of the students and school personnel.

Taguig City Police Station chief Col. Robert Baesa said they are preparing to file a complaint against two individuals, one of them a minor, found to be responsible for the November 7 bomb threats.

He said his men in cooperation with the Philippine National Police-Anticyber Crime Group were able to identify the suspects after tracking down their internet protocol (IP) address, exact location, and mobile number.

The suspects used a Facebook account name “Sofia Smith” when they logged in, posted, commented, and made threats on a livestream of a flag-raising ceremony.

Baesa said the dummy social media account commented on the school’s Facebook Live and threatened to kill all the students “like what happened in Thailand.”

The comment read: “Humanda na kyo mamya sa pagpasok ng mga panghapon. Binabalaan ko kayong lahat na humanda mamaya haha papsukin niyo lhat ng estudyante mamaya. Papatayin ko lahat g mga estudyante sa Taguig Signal Village. Kagaya ng nangyare sa Thailand humanda kayo magpapasabog ako dyan sa Signal papatayin ko kayong lahat.”

The threats prompted the local government and the school management to cancel the afternoon classes.

In a press conference, P/Lt. Col. Jay Guillermo, of the PNP-ACG, said “Sofia Smith’ is a 16-year-old girl, Grade 9 student at Signal Village National High School. We went to the Regional Trial Court to obtain a cybercrime warrant so that we have the right to enter the house and confiscate the cell phone of ‘Sofia Smith’ and her companions in the house.”

He said the minor made the threats with the help of a “vindictive” former street sweeper who was sacked by the school management. Charges of grave threats, bomb scare threats, and acts of terrorism would be filed against them.

Investigation showed that there were multiple log-ins of different Facebook accounts to the same IP address. The Taguig City government had asked netizens to refrain from sharing false information which tends to cause panic and alarm in the community.

It reminded the public to be wary of doing such things and warned that making bomb joke is punishable of up to five years imprisonment and P40,000 fine, or both under Presidential Decree 1727 (Anti-Bomb Joke Law).

Anyone circulating hoax warning through email and text messages can also be held criminally liable as it constitutes a wilful dissemination of false information which is punishable by law.

The law, signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in 1980, declared unlawful and penalizes, the malicious dissemination of false information and the making of any threat concerning bombs, explosives, or any similar device or means of destruction.

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