MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ justice ministry has ordered law enforcers to investigate a post on the social media platform TikTok threatening to assassinate presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., acting on a tip received by its cybercrime unit.
“If a bomb joke is actionable, so is a threat of assassination, whether true or not,” Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters.
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.”
Marcos, also known as Bongbong and BBM, is the son and namesake of the late Philippines strongman Ferdinand Sr. He has emerged as a clear favourite in the May 9 presidential elections.
Marcos’s chief of staff, Vic Rodriguez, commended the justice ministry for “its swift and uncompromising response to uncover those behind this open threat to harm and kill presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos.”
“While this assassination plot is concerning, we are not cowered by such threat,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Apart from Marcos, those eyeing the presidency include former boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, Vice President Leni Robredo and Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso.
(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)