'Love' Suspect Ordered Released, Leads Pursued

PARIS (05/09/2000) - The Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is pursuing a variety of leads in the ILOVEYOU computer virus case after the Philippine Department of Justice ordered the release of a suspect detained yesterday, according to NBI Director Federico M. Opinion.

The NBI yesterday detained one suspect, Reomel Ramones, for questioning and recommended to the Department of Justice that he be arrested, said Opinion.

However, the department subsequently ordered his release "to give the NBI more time to analyze the evidence," Opinion said in a telephone interview today.

A hearing on the case will be held on May 19, Opinion said. "A case (has been) provided to the Department of Justice recommending the arrest" of Ramones, Opinion said. "We have to present [the case] before the prosecutor's office for them to accept or reject it," he said.

The NBI expects to question other people in the case, however. "So far we have to line up about 10 people for interview whose names were found among papers confiscated during the raid," Opinion said.

Other evidence seized included a number of computer diskettes, he said, that had not yet been examined to determine their relevance to the case. "We expect to find out tomorrow," he said.

The ILOVEYOU, or "Love Bug," virus and its variants swept the globe last week, causing billions of U.S. dollars of damage.

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