The Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is chasing a number of leads in the ILOVEYOU computer virus case after the Philippine Department of Justice released Reomel Ramones, its first suspect, according to NBI Director Federico M Opinion.

Reomel Ramones was detained for questioning, and the Department of Justice was asked to arrest him, said Opinion. However, the department has since ordered his release "to give the NBI more time to analyse the evidence", Opinion said.

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, he said. He added: "We have to present the case before the prosecutor's office for them to accept or reject it."

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 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 dollars in damage.