Driver indicted over bomb joke after Davao blast

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 09 2016 05:51 PM

MANILA - A man who thought making a bomb joke was a simple laughing matter and not a criminal offense has been indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Delivery van driver Marlon E. Soriano will be charged for violation of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1727, which declares unlawful the "malicious dissemination of false information of the willful making of any threat concerning bombs, explosives or any similar device or means of destruction."

In a 3-page resolution signed by Asst. State Prosecutor, and approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, the DOJ said ''[i]t is crystal clear that [Soriano] violated Section 1 of PD No. 1727 for having uttered the statement, 'May bomba dyan!' when his vehicle [was] undergoing inspection."

Soriano made the joke 4 days after the deadly Davao City blast that left 14 dead and over 60 others injured.

In its complaint, the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP) narrated that while the delivery van Soriano was driving was being inspected at around 2:45 a.m. of September 6 at the cargo terminal entrance of a major airline adjacent to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 4, Soriano suddenly uttered, "May bomba dyan!" then drove the van towards the cargo acceptance area.

The aviation security on duty went after the vehicle and told Soriano he committed an offense for making the bomb joke. Soriano was immediately arrested while his cargo was inspected by the X-ray machine operator.

Soriano was brought to the police station and immediately subjected to inquest proceedings. 

In its resolution, the DOJ stressed that PD No. 1727 is a "special law and therefore belongs to the class of malum prohibitum laws, which means that mere commission of the act (i.e., utterance), regardless of the intent, is already punishable." 

"The decree is specifically adopted by the government to [curb] such acts that pose a grave and positive danger to public safety and security as well as to deter radicals and other lawless elements in the country for pursuing the destructive design and heinous aims and ends," the resolution read. 

The DOJ said the said law provides that "any person who, by word of mouth or through the use of the mail, telephone, telegraph, printed materials and other instrument or means of communication, willfully makes any threat, maliciously conveys, communicates, transmits, imparts, passes on, or otherwise disseminates false information, knowing the same to be false, concerning an attempt or alleged attempt being made to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property, by means of explosives, incendiary devices, and other destructive forces of similar nature or characteristics, shall upon conviction be punished with imprisonment of not more than five years, or a fine of not more than forty thousand pesos or both at the discretion of the court having jurisdiction over the offense."