911 prank caller prosecuted, issues public apology

911 prank caller prosecuted, issues public apology

A prank caller who was sued for unjust vexation of violation of Presidential Decree 1727 issued a public apology for inconsiderate and flippant use of the Baguio City Emergency 911 hotline.

Anthony Balcita, a resident of this city, posted his apology as part of the compromise agreement after a court-administered mediation process on the case filed against him by Dan Michael Ocampo and Juanito Areola, both employees of the Baguio City Command Center which is overseeing the hotline.

“(Ako) ay taos pusong humihingi ng tawad sa Pamahalaang Lungsod ng Baguio at sa pangkalahatang publiko para sa walang ingat at pabirong pagtawag sa 911 hotline.  Hindi (ko) intension na seryosohing takutin ang publiko o ang gobyerno o saktan sila sa anumang paraan,” Balcita wrote.

“Ngayon napagnilaynilayan (ko), kinikilala (ko) na ang (aking) nagawa ay hindi tama.  Naiintindihan naming ngayon na ang paggamit o pagtawag sa 911 emergency hotline ay nararapat lamang gamitin o tawagan tuwing emergency.  Muli taos puso kaming hunihingi ng paumanhin sa hindi pag-iingat sa aming mga aksyon;

“Makatitiyak at makakasiguro kayong hindi na ito mauulit at nanunumpa kami na gagamitin o tatawagan lamang ang 911 hotline sa tuwing may emergency o kapag talagang nangangailangan kami ng agarang tulong.”

In their joint affidavit-complaint, Ocampo and Arreola said they received over a hundred “mischievous and irritating phone calls” from a telephone number traced to Balcita from Nov. 1 to December 30, 2021 and from Feb. 2 to March 22, 2022.

“Despite the warning given through ‘text blast’ that prank calls are in violation of Executive Order No. 56.., the number continued to make irritating, disturbing and annoying numerous prank calls…  Whenever we will ask the reason for the call, the silence on the other line irritates us and disturbs our performance of our official duties,” the complainant said.

The complaint eventually led to a mediation and compromise agreement.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier expressed alarm on the continued proliferation of prank and drop calls made to 911.

He warned that such calls are being traced, tagged or chased for filing of appropriate charges.

“May this incident serve as example to others engaging in similar nefarious act,” he said.

Since the line was opened in October 2021, the command center has received a total of 22,118 prank calls, at total of 44,641 drop calls, 28,380 wrong number, 7,732 miscellaneous calls with only 1,052 legitimate calls received.

The helpline which operates 24/7 provides emergency response to any emergency.  It can be accessed by direct telephone calls or through the Baguio in my Pocket (BIMP) application at https://www.baguioinmypocket.ph. – Aileen P. Refuerzo


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