Ever wanted to do a viral TikTok prank for content? Well, this is what you should NOT do as a prank: Hoping to shoot a playful video in the form of burning a ₱20 bill, a man instead burned his hand by playing too close to the fire. In place of gaining new followers for his platform, he regrettably earned the unwanted attention of the authorities.
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The spark that started the fire
A Filipino Tiktok user decided to post a burning ₱20 bill to ignite a bottle of gin for the cocktails they were about to enjoy. Admittedly aware that a bottle of gin is an inexpensive way to have a great time with alcohol, the user flexed his carefree procedure and captioned his post with “this is just gin, but we’re legit.” This action has earned him the reactions of many users, saying that his prank is illegal and has grave implications. What is more concerning, however, is that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is now after the man and has formally filed a complaint in court.
BSP cited that the Tiktok prank was a direct violation of Presidential Decree No. 247, which prohibits defacing, mutilation, tearing, destroying, and — surprise, surprise — the burning of our currency. Add to that another provision stating that should a person violate this law in any way, shape, or form, the violator shall be fined no more than ₱20,000 — or worse, imprisonment — of no more than five years, according to BSP senior investigation officer Atty. Mark Fajardo.
Once the Tiktok user was made aware of the heavy backlash caused by his actions, Fajardo says the video was immediately pulled out of the platform.
Paying ₱20,000 and potentially going to prison for a long time seems too much, wouldn’t you say? Sadly, the story gets worse.
Gaining notoriety virally
It may be too late for the Tiktok user, as BSP-Quezon City’s Dickenson Gamalo says that the man has been identified through investigative efforts of the BSP and is now in the process of validating information.
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Aside from the steep fine, the man also gained a stacked criminal record in a matter of an unfortunate few seconds of Internet fame. By posting the act on social media, the man had potentially spread false information, even false impressions, especially since the video gained an audience. This is a direct violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code against unlawful utterances and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2022. Gamalo says that jurisdiction also covers social media, and that there is no escape from it.
Why burn money when you can spend it instead
There is only one acceptable way to burn money, and that is to spend it. But jokes aside, literally burning money with fire does not only imply involvement in committing a crime; it is also a waste of precious, material resources. For this reason, even if there were no laws to cover the deed, the loss and destruction of money will always be a serious matter. Suddenly, buying a bag of chips to go with the alcohol seems like the funniest thing in the world.