Teen spreading white van kidnapping lie charged

The municipal police in Naval, Biliran filed a criminal complaint against a teenager who falsely reported to being a victim of a white van kidnapping incident last month.

The Municipal Police Station filed the case against Jeane Gayrama, a 19-year-old college student from Cabucgayan, Biliran. In her Facebook post that has gone viral, Gayrama said that she was kidnapped by three bonnet-clad men riding on a white van last 20 August at about 2:40 p.m. at Barangay Santissimo Rosario Poblacion, Naval, Biliran.

The post widely circulated on social media caused panic among residents of Naval, the provincial capital of Biliran province.

When the post created a stir, Gayrama went to the office of Naval Mayor Gretchen Espina to publicly apologize and admitted that the incident was not true. She said she was problematic at that time and wanted only to get attention.

The apology, however, did not impress the municipal police that went on to file the case against Gayrama for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Law. In found guilty, the accused will face imprisonment from one to six months and a fine of up to P200,000 based on Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code.

Naval Police chief P/Maj. Ryan Delima said that after an in-depth investigation, they are “morally convinced that the said kidnapping incident was all made-up and fabricated considering the inconsistencies of the statements given by the alleged suspect.”

Delima said that based on witnesses and CCTV on the areas where the crime reportedly happened, there was no kidnapping incident on the said date and time stated, contrary to what the suspect alleged.

P/Col. Dionisio Apas Jr., acting Provincial Director of PNP Biliran, appealed to the public to avoid spreading fake news, especially those that will cause public alarm.

“Please avoid spreading news or information that is unverified and would mislead, deceive, and cause fear to the public. Be more cautious when posting and sharing on social media, and always fact-check the authenticity of reports posted on social media so as not to fall victim to misinformation and disinformation,” Apas said.

Apas warned that the full force of the law will be imposed against those who will spread similar posts.

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