Malacañang is challenging House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate to file corresponding charges before the court if he could prove that the national government is behind the sudden proliferation of fake Facebook (FB) accounts of activists and university students.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after Zarate claimed that the creation of fake FB accounts may be a “prelude to a crackdown” once the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is enacted into law.

“Well, if Congressman Zarate has the evidence, file the corresponding charge. Pero sa panahon po ng pandemya, sana iwasan na yong ganitong conclusions na wala namang ebidensya (But in the time of a pandemic, I hope they avoid making conclusions without evidence),” he said in a virtual presser on Monday.

Roque said Zarate is free to bring the matter before the courts and fiscal offices.

“Kung talagang ganyan ang tingin niyang nangyari, magsampa po siya (If he really thinks it happened, he should file charges),” he said.

He, meanwhile, assured that concerned agencies such as the National Privacy Commission (NPC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ)-Office of Cybercrime, in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), are already investigating the matter.

“For now, sapat po na ang ating (it’s enough that the) Privacy Commission is investigating the matter and I think the NBI is also investigating this matter dahil yung pagbubuo ng (because creating) fake accounts ay (is) specially prohibited and penalized by the Cyber Crimes act,” he said.

Roque also warned hackers from creating any more bogus FB accounts.

“Illegal po yan. Humanap kayo ng mas mabuting gagawin (That’s illegal. Find something else to do),” he said.

In a statement on Sunday, Zarate said the fake FB accounts of targeted activists “sprouted” when the campaign against the terror bill came to media attention, while other accounts were created during the campaign against the ABS-CBN shut down a month ago.

He added that the surge in dummy accounts was another reason to junk the bill “because it would easily haul innocent people to jail being framed by unscrupulous groups and individuals”.

Facebook Philippines said it was looking into the surge in fake accounts and other suspicious activity. (PNA)

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