DOJ orders NBI to investigate radiation text message hoax perpetrators

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the perpetrators behind the hoax text messages warning the public against supposed acid rain and radiation leak from the Japan nuclear blast.

Manila Bulletin reports that De Lima said the perpetrators may be charged with crimes against public order under the Revised Penal Code. They may also be charged for damages caused by the hoax messages, which spread on Monday.

The same day, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) suspended classes because parents and guardians kept asking the school to send the students home after hearing about the hoax messages. PUP President Dante Guevarra said they did not verify the text messages first, preferring to err on the side of caution.

Yesterday, the World Health Organization said "there is no evidence at this time of any significant international spread from the nuclear site" in Japan, following the magnitude-8.9 quake that hit the country last week. Reuters quoted WHO’s statement: "Governments and members of the public are encouraged to take steps to halt these rumors (of a threatening radiation cloud spreading across Asia and beyond), which are harmful to public morale."

Reuters cited the hoax text messages that "caused alarm in the Philippines and even led some schools to close."

For more on this story, log on to Manila Bulletin and Reuters .

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