Rappler CEO faces NBI probe on cyber libel complaint

admin   •   January 22, 2018   •   5739


MANILA, Philippines — Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa appeared at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime Division, Monday, on a cyber libel complaint.

Ressa said that while they were given the opportunity to answer the complaint, she still sees another motive for it.

She thinks that the timing is suspicious because the probe was set after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked their license.

“Obviously, I still see this as a continuing pattern to harass and/or to shut down Rappler. I still see it as part of a concerted effort that will have an impact on press freedom in the country,” said Ressa.

She assured that Rappler is ready to face all complaints and cases which may be filed against them.

“We appeal to government authorities to do the right thing, to follow the rule of law, to give us due process. We have nothing to hide. We’ll completely submit ourselves as I did today,” said the CEO.

The cyber libel complaint was filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng last December over an article Rappler published in May 2012.

Said article was about then Chief Justice Renato Corona using Keng’s SUVs but also contain the businessman’s alleged involvement in human trafficking and drug smuggling.

While the article was written before the enactment of the Anti-Cybercrime Law, it was updated by Rappler in 2014 hence, the complainant argued that it could be qualified as a cyber libel.

But IT expert and Rappler counsel Atty. JJ Disini sees a defect in the complaint.

“The publication precedes or happened even before the law was in existence and therefore it causes into question whether or not it could apply in this case,” said the legal counsel.

He pointed out that it would be a big problem if this is affirmed since it would mean authors and publishers of decade-old articles could still be charged with cyber-libel, as long as these articles are accessible on the internet.

“If that constitutes libel today, then no one is safe. Anyone that has a libelous article that continues to be accessible today may be charged with libel and moving forward it affects everyone, not just media outlets, but also even bloggers, people who published some libel maybe ten years ago if somehow it finds its way online,” said the lawyer.

The NBI Cybercrime Division Chief said that they will study the law’s provision on this very carefully.

Rappler was given 10 days to submit their answer to the complaint.

As soon as they complied with the submission of their affidavit, we will immediately evaluate the case and submit a recommendation,” said Eduarte. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

 

NBI arrests 5 people allegedly involved in BDO hacking

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2022

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday said it has arrested five persons allegedly involved in a hacking incident that affected more than 700 BDO account holders.

In a statement, NBI Director Eric Distor said the five individuals, including two Nigerian nationals, were part of the “Mark Nagoyo Heist Group” tagged in a massive hacking of BDO accounts.

Distor identified the suspects as Ifesinachi Fountain Anaekwe alias Daddy Champ, Chukwuemeka Peter Nwadi, Jherom Anthony Taupa, Ronelyn Panaligan, and Clay Revillosa.

The Nigerian nationals underwent inquest proceedings before the Department of Justice, Manila for Trafficking in Unauthorized Access Devices under Section 9 of RA 8484 otherwise known as the Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998.

Taupa, meanwhile, is facing complaint for Misuse of Devices under Section 4(a)(5)(i)(aa) of RA 10175 otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The NBI said the Nigerian nationals were arrested in an entrapment operation conducted by its Cybercrime Division in Mabalacat, Pampanga on January 18, 2022.

The two were caught in the act of offering accounts for sale during the operation, the agency added.

“The operation stemmed from information provided by the informant who had transactions with the subjects,” the NBI said.

“The informant voluntarily appeared before the NBI-CCD to give information regarding several individuals believed to be leaders, members, or affiliates of Mark Nagoyo Group,” it added.

It can be recalled that BDO account holders in December reported unauthorized money transfer transactions involving tens of thousands of pesos. Initial reports showed that the group was able to access customers’ bank accounts while supposedly bypassing the One-Time-Pin requirement and drained funds in those accounts. Email confirmations for the bulk of the illegal transfers showed that they were made by a certain “Mark D. Nagoyo.”

The informant said the arrested subjects were engaged in the business of providing access devices to anyone looking for options to cash out funds fraudulently obtained, including bank accounts, crypto wallets, or even point-of-sale terminals of otherwise legitimate merchants.

The informant also revealed that he received a call from a certain “Mark Froilan” about money cashouts, who later contacted Nigerian national Anaekwe. The suspect then said he will provide the informant with three different accounts for the transfer of P10 million each, “apparently referring to the funds from BDO alluded to by Mark Froilan.”

Meanwhile, Taupa was arrested in a buy-bust operation also conducted on January 18 in Floridablanca, Pampanga “for selling ‘scampage’ or phishing website.”

The NBI said another informant identified Taupa as one of the masterminds behind the Mark Nagoyo scam. Taupa was said to be engaged in selling scampage, particularly an imitation of Gcash Webpage.

“Accordingly, Taupa modified the code in order to gather the log-in details of unwitting victims who would access the scampage in the mistaken belief that they were opening Gcash’s official portal,” the bureau said.

The owner of the phishing website would then be able to get into the victim’s Gcash accounts to steal their funds.

The NBI said it launched the operation after the information and Taupa agreed on P2,000 payment in cash for the scampage.

“Taupa admitted that he was selling Gcash scampages which he stored in his computer,” it said.

“Further investigation revealed that subject Jherom Taupa is involved in a group heist, being the one sending the emailing list containing personal details of various bank customers to a group of individuals responsible for sending email to the former. The said email contains a link which when clicked, will be used for the hacking process of the heist group,” it added.

The NBI said a separate operation by its operatives yielded the arrest of Panaligan and Revillosa, who were tagged as web developer and downloader in the BDO hacking incident.

DOJ wants Kerwin Espinosa transferred to ‘more secure’ detention facility

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is eyeing to transfer self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa to a more secure detention facility following his alleged attempt to escape the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) facility.

“We believe that Kerwin Espinosa should be transferred to a more secure detention facility in view of the numerous cases that he is currently facing,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a message to reporters on Tuesday.

On Monday, the NBI said it thwarted the plan of three detainees led by Espinosa to bolt from its facility through a hole of the exhaust fan at the ceiling.

Guevarra, however, said that Espinosa’s transfer to another facility would need commitment orders from the courts where his cases are being tried.

“Ordinarily, unbailed individuals awaiting completion of their trial are detained in facilities of the BJMP,” he said.

“The courts will determine the appropriate BJMP facility, but we’ll recommend the most secure one. the same arrangement will be recommended for the other detainees who attempted to escape,” he added.

NBI says drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, 2 others tried to escape from detention

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2022

 

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday said it has foiled the escape attempt of three detainees led by drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa from its facility.

In a statement, NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric Distor said agents were able to thwart the detainees’ attempt after it conducted an inspection in the detention facility.

Distor said the NBI’s Security Management Section (SMS) conducted the inspection after receiving information about the escape plan.

He said that on January 13, 2022, the chief of the NBI-SMS and his executive officer received a report that Espinosa and two other detainees were planning to escape through the hole of an exhaust fan on the ceiling.

“On the same night, they immediately conducted an inspection of the jail,” the NBI said.

“In one of the cells of the jail, the raiding team of agents observed a deformed exhaust fan, which when removed, exposed a hole fit for a detainee to escape,” it added.

Distor said that in view of this incident, security measures at the jail have since been tightened.

Regular inspection of all jail facilities is also being implemented, he added.

 

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