The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will file cases against five individuals who allegedly peddled “fake news” on social media regarding the 2022 elections, Commissioner George Garcia said Wednesday.
During the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, Garcia said he already referred to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last week the five instances wherein the credibility and integrity of the electoral process was “undermined.”
“Asahan niyo po in the next succeeding days, even after the elections, we will be filing cases against these individuals simply because mali po ‘yung ginagawa nila [what they’re doing is wrong],” he said.
Garcia, however, reiterated that the poll body is only against fake news or wrong information and not criticisms or commentaries against them.
He underscored the importance of free expression and guaranteed that cases will not be filed against those who just simply express their opinions regarding the elections.
“But remember din po that information is an oxygen of democracy. Information must be truthful and the Comelec will watch everything as far as those untruthful information is concerned. Fake news, pakiiwasan po natin ‘yan [let us avoid that],” he said.
Garcia said under Omnibus Election Code, those peddling disinformation among voters may be imprisoned for one to six years.
“The Comelec would like to 100% guarantee to everyone that we will always observe constitutional due process. Everybody will be afforded due process,” he said.
The Comelec has earlier established the Task Force Kontra Fake News to combat disinformation and counter any attempt to undermine the credibility of the electoral process.
Garcia chairs the task force. —KBK, GMA News