The Bohol Provincial Police Office has launched an investigation on the online publication of photos which allegedly showed unidentified foreign nationals shooting airsoft pistols at the images of Gov. Art Yap and BPPO director Col. Joselito Clarito.
Clarito, in a virtual press briefing on Friday, said that the BPPO’s Anti-Cybercrime and Intelligence Units are looking into the source of the photos which went viral over social media.
Yap meanwhile said that he has been in touch with newly appointed Philippine National Police director General Debold Sinas regarding the issue.
“PNP chief Debold Sinas already gave me a call that they’re giving it top priority,” Yap said.
Yap noted that he has received various accounts regarding the photos with some reports indicating that the images were altered and were originally taken two years ago.
This was then confirmed by Clarito who added that the original photos were taken some time in July, 2018.
However, these were recently copied by a still unidentified person, edited and posted on an alleged fake Facebook account using the name of the original photos’ owner.
Yap’s image was allegedly edited into one photo making it appear that he was the target while close-up portraits of the governor and Clarito with what appeared to be bullet holes were added to the Facebook album.
“Luma na po yung picture. It was just copied and taken by some unscrupulous individuals. From dun sa original account, gumawa siya ng kapangalan na fake account at kinuha yung mga picture doon,” he said.
As of posting time, the photos remained on the alleged fake Facebook account.
No other posts in the Facebook profile were seen except for the photos of several foreign nationals drinking and eating together while others appeared to be using their airsoft pistols for shooting practice with Yap’s and Clarito’s images as targets.
The photo album’s caption read “Having a party with my friends and targeting the gov of Bohol and BIATF because we are tired of lockdowns!”
The post appeared to have not gained attention over social media but the photos later spread online after Capitol communications officer Ven Arigo copied and reposted the images as he slammed the alleged act and defended both Yap and the BPPO chief.
Arigo’s post was shared by a few hundreds of netizens but this was later deleted.
Meanwhile, Clarito said that the BPPO is planning to file charges against Arigo for spreading the photos.
“We are now contemplating criminal charges against Arigo,” he said.