The Philippine Star : EDITORIAL - Hijacked signal has scary implications

9 October 2021

By The Philippine Star

Last Wednesday, some people near the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City where would-be candidates could file their certificate of candidacy received what was titled an emergency alert text message.

However, instead of an actual emergency, the text was about the recent filing of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and promoted his candidacy as president.

“BBM sa bansa, BBM sa taong bayan, BBM sa Masa. BBM Pilipinas!!!” part of the text read.

Marcos has already denied he was behind the incident. According to a Marcos representative it was clearly an act of sabotage. What would they have to gain by doing something that would make him look bad?

Actually, Marcos would have something to gain from it; bad publicity is still publicity after all. We shouldn’t forget that exposure will be something any candidate will look forward to ahead of the campaign period.

However, that is beside the point here. That is not the bigger issue. The bigger issue being that some individuals were somehow able to hijack an official government signal and use it for their own purpose. In this case to make Marcos look good or bad.

The National Telecommunications Commission has ordered an investigation into the incident. Pending the official results, some communications experts surmised that a makeshift mobile cell site was used to hijack the signal and blast the messages.

The fact that this happened within a small area, as opposed to citywide, also lends some credence to this theory.

The implications of this incident are serious. Those who know how to do this can, or be hired by unscrupulous individuals to, blast messages to the public for their own purposes. They can spread information or misinformation wherever they want whenever they want.

It doesn’t stop there. If certain signals or frequencies can be hijacked, can the same also be done to the signals or frequencies transmitting election results?

We are blessed to be in the digital age; reaching out to somehow only takes seconds even if he or she is on the other side of the world. However, we are also cursed to be in this age; people can now easily lie, cheat, and steal using the same technology.

We all know what needs to be done here; the men responsible for hijacking the signal have to be found and their ability to do so ended.