By Claire Morales True
MANILA – Presidential aspirant and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has reportedly received death threats prompting the government agencies to mount an investigation.
Leading the probe are the Department of Justice which has under its supervision the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Due to the death threats, Marcos had doubled security measures and cut down on visits to voters. He was seen, however, during the last two days in Tagum Cty and in Digos City opening campaign headquarters with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, his vice presidential candidate.
The threat is reportedly contained in a post on the social media platform TikTok.
“If a bomb joke is actionable, so is a threat of assassination, whether true or not,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said as he ordered an investigation.
Guevarra said the government investigates all threats on public officials, past and present, including candidates running for public office, upon prompt receipt of information.
A death threat is an unlawful act whether one believes it or not and even if it is unlikely, he added.
Vice President Leonor Robredo, who is also running for president, was likewise the subject of death threats before.
The TikTok user allegedly posted “we are meeting everyday to plan for BBM’s (Bongbong Marcos) assassination. Get ready.”
Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ chief of staff, said in a statement on Sunday “we are not cowered by such threat” and all their campaign activities will continue.
Charito Zamora, the head of the DOJ’s cybercrime unit, said her office received a “text report” from a concerned citizen on Friday about a TikTok post which said: “We are meeting everyday to prepare to have BBM assassinated. Get ready.”
Zamora said her office has referred the matter to the police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and has requested TikTok to preserve data related to the account while authorities conduct a probe.
Guevarra said “the NBI will give priority attention to any validated information pertaining to a threat to the personal security of any presidential aspirant.”