Raps readied vs saboteur of PNA website

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The Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) will file cybercrime charges against a saboteur of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) website that brought humiliation to the government.

Joel Sy Egco, who was appointed as trouble shooter of PNA on Wednesday, said the National Bureau of
Investigation is zeroing on a suspect who uploaded confidential information on its website last September 8. It is not yet clear what case based on the cybercrime law will be filed against the culprit.

The suspect is yet to be named but Egco described him as veteran news reporter of the agency who seems to be not happy with recent changes being implemented in the agency.

“It was not a glitch. The suspect intentionally uploaded it to bring havoc. We will make sure he will be sanctioned and that proper criminal charges will be filed against him,” Egco told a forum in Malate, Manila on Wednesday.

The former newspaperman said he sought the help of the Department of Information, Communications and Technology to provide information on how the website was manipulated.

The suspect uploaded editorial notes or instruction for the previous months on how to angle or treat news. Notes like these are confidential and for the eyes only of editors.

Egco said the IP (Internet Protocol) address has been traced to have been generated from a computer in Pasay City. Some seasoned editors of PNA have access to the website and they could edit, post or take down news articles. The PNA website was started in 2003.

“However, this time we took down the old website and placed a new one which no one could manipulate anymore. We are working to make it informative as quick as possible comparative if not better than other news websites,” he added.

The suspect, Egco suspected, is not alone in sabotaging the website. “His conspirators will also be identified and proper charges will be filed against them.”

He said sanctions were imposed against PNA reporters who committed mistakes, the latest of whom was a culprit who opted to just tender his resignation.

PNA is a government-owned news agency that was started in 1973. The early years were regarded as the golden period of the agency since many newspapers, radio and television news outlets, including international firms, were subscribing to its news stories. The stories were deemed influential and many decision-makers rely on the information they provided.

The agency now is under the PCOO, headed by Secretary Martin Andanar. Egco is now the alter-ego of Andanar at PNA and he was instructed to solve the problems and bring back its glory days.

Egco summarized his task as one who will impose house cleaning, putting it in order and putting in competent people.

At present, PNA has 14 reporters with 10 editors. The new PNA is editorial independent. A new PNA will be launched on October 1 in a multi-media telecast to catch up with Internet-based news dissemination.

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