Malilong: A cock and bull story goes viral

Frank Malilong

HOW gullible can we get?

Someone posted on Facebook a cock and bull story about a supposed kidnapping in Danao City by a man and a woman riding in a white van and very quickly stories of similar kidnappings began appearing on social media, accompanied by warnings of kidnap gangs out to harvest your organs to be sold for as much as P500,000.

The reports created such a commotion that the police have to issue a statement that the Facebook post that started it all, was unvalidated, fake news and had no factual basis.

They were able to locate the post’s author, who when confronted, admitted that he made up the story, the police said. They should have arrested him and locked him up for the trouble that he has caused.

But the police did not even have to intervene if the public had only been a little more discerning. The FB user’s story was so full of holes and so contrary to human nature that it was simply unbelievable.

Note the sequence of the supposed events as narrated, per Superbalita: He was approached by a woman, who alighted from a white van, and offered to sell him perfume but he refused. Five minutes later, a man came out from the van with the same offer but this time asking him to smell the merchandise. Again, he refused. Two hours later, while walking on his way home, he encountered the same van from which he heard the voice of a child crying and asking for help. Later, the van came back and the driver invited him for a meal which he again rejected.

Now tell me, who is the crazy driver who comes back after he and his cohorts had kidnapped someone to invite a potential witness to the crime to dinner? It is obvious that the FB user was/is out of his mind when he wrote that. Unfortunately, many of those who read his post were as similarly crazy as to like and share it.

As I wrote in my column last Tuesday, we should not allow ourselves to be suckered. Let’s show the purveyors of fake news that we are not as crazy as they are.

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Forty-two City Hall employees were found positive for drugs use and could face dismissal.

They never learn, do they?

I am told, however, that the drug test that is usually conducted here (and I assume that it was the same test administered to the employees) is merely preliminary (screening, in laboratory parlance) and is subject to confirmation by the national reference laboratory in Manila. So until the confirmation is done, it may be premature to dismiss the employee, unless he himself confirms his being on drugs. Anyway, Cebu City Legal Officer Rey Gealon is a good and experienced lawyer so he knows what he is doing.

There is no doubt that anyone on drugs has no business being in government. I am worried, however, that after they’re given their walking papers, they couldn’t be monitored anymore if they continued using the dangerous substance or have kicked the habit.

Will City Hall wash their hands of these people and let the police take over?