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Social media poser threatens online news site in Philippines

An online news site in Subic received threatening messages from a person posing as a member of the police's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team last 21 May 2013.

Subic, a former US military air base, is a municipality in the province of Zambales, some 140 kilometers north of Manila.

Subic Times reported that they received threatening messages from a social media account in the name of a certain Danny Boy Patagan. The sender claimed to be a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) SWAT team. The first message read, "(Expletive) I know who you are. I'll hit your face if I see you (expletive)!"

Threatening message screen-grabbed by
Threatening message screen-grabbed by "Subic Times"

CMFR/Subic Times

Subic Times replied to the message, asking the person to clear things up before they take appropriate action. But they received another threat instead, "(Expletive) Do it! Don't be all talk! You're lapdogs and paid hacks! You don't scare me!"

CMFR/Subic Times

Anthony Bayarong, Subic Times editor-in-chief, told CMFR in a phone interview last May 27 that they have no idea what the reason could be behind the threats.

"I can't recall anything critical in our reports during the election," Bayarong said.

The social media account was deleted before Bayarong could reply to the second message.

On May 22, Subic Times reported that the real Danny Boy Patagan had gone to their office and denied owning the social media account that sent the threatening messages.

In a phone interview with CMFR last May 27, Patagan clarified that the SWAT team he is a member of is not part the PNP, but of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

He recalled four other times when his name was used in social media to send threatening messages to other groups, but the fake social media account was always deleted afterwards.

"I've already forwarded (a report of) the incident to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) but they can't track the IP address (from where the messages were sent) since the account has been deleted," Patagan said.

He added that he himself has a social media account that he rarely accesses.

Asked if there is anyone who may want to sully his name, Patagan said he does not know of anyone who has a grudge against him.

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