Arrested suspects will no longer be presented to media – PNP chief

ARRESTED crime suspects will no longer be presented in press briefings starting this week, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said on Tuesday.

Albayalde informed the media about this after photographers and cameramen sought for a photo opportunity of arrested police officers last week.

Over the years, it has been a norm to present suspects during press briefings while the chief of police and other officials answered questions.

Albayalde said the PNP would revive a memorandum circular by former chief Jesus Verzosa in 2009 prohibiting the presentation of alleged suspects before the media.

The memorandum said the presentation of suspects violated their constitutional and human rights as their reputation was jeopardized as no verdict has been given.

In 2008, then Commission on Human Rights chairman Leila de Lima also told the PNP to be more prudent in presenting alleged suspects in criminal cases to the media as no person should be mandated to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.

Senior Supt. Benigno Durana, PNP spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday that Albayalde chose to end the practice of public shaming of suspects to show that the PNP was still observing the importance of human rights, especially in the war against drugs.

“We are actively listening to our people because at the end of the day, the people are our clients, our customers. We are their servants. That’s why we enhance our fight against illegal drugs.

By upholding, observing, respecting, and promoting human rights in the rule of law and the way we conduct our business and one of that is upholding constitutional and even of crime suspects and at the same time, balancing the right of the people to be informed,” he said.

Durana assured media that the PNP would provide them footage and mugshots of the criminals as a way of upholding public awareness. He also said that cameramen and photographers may still take a photo or video of the suspects while being escorted by police.

The order was given to all police district and regional offices.

Violators will face administrative sanctions, Durana said. ROY NARRA


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