PNP and privacy of arrested suspects

By May 27, 2024Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


IN our editorial this week, we called attention to the misguided policy of the PNP that it is its responsibility to protect the privacy of arrested suspects caught in the act of committing a crime.

PNP said the names of arrested suspects should not be reported in media so it withholds their names.

It maintains that the arrested suspects do not deserve to be exposed like criminals because they have not been convicted by the court, and there’s a chance they will not be convicted.

Is PNP saying criminals deserve some respect for their privacy after committing a crime because the courts have not convicted them?? Wow! let’s process this thought.

The only way arrested and charged suspects can get acquitted is if the police work was sloppy! Is PNP leadership not confident about cases it files?

Then, if the suspect is declared “not guilty”, no one will know he/she continues to be a threat because his/her identity is kept secret the whole time.

If the PNP is so absorbed with protecting the privacy of arrested suspects, then it should stop operating against street drug pushers because these are not in the wanted lists whose names can be reported..

Then, how can the PNP expect communities to secure and protect themselves when news about the crimes do not identify the persons who committed the crimes, how they did it and where?  How can the police ask for the community’s cooperation in tracking elusive suspects when their identities are kept secret?

Apparently, under this policy, news about crimes from the region will, henceforth, only highlight the police unit that effected the arrest of unidentified suspects. No names of suspects. How can that look credible?

PNP must understand if the police continue to withhold the names of suspects, public will suspect their police to be collaborating with the criminals.  With the criminals’ identities kept secret, what is to stop communities from suspecting that the criminals they arrested are operating drug trading, scams, robberies for the corrupt police?

Surely, Regional Director P/BGen Lou Evangelista does not want to leave a legacy that he considers the privacy of arrested crime suspects more important than the security of a community that can only be made possible by a full information about crimes in their communities.

He should junk this policy and order all police chiefs in the region not to withhold any information from the media that will help secure and improve peace and order in the communities.

Besides, there’s no law prohibiting reporting identities of arrested suspects, and no law that names of arrested suspects be withheld to protect their privacy.

Also, PNP cannot be seen as violating the Freedom of Information Act under his command.

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MORE ‘NO-SHOWS’ AHEAD. Now it can be told! The 7 epaLifes are already really afraid of their own ghosts every minute! 

They confirmed this when they were again a ‘no-show’ in last week’s regular session of the Dagupan SP. Their worst fear: To be done unto them what they do to the minority!

Translation: Not one of them can already be expected to be their respectable, independent selves. Not one can be expected to speak out to defend what is right or rise to fight for what is right.  

But, of course, that already concerns them.

The 7 epaLifes’ have a pact and exist only for one objective: To block whatever is right for Dagupan. Period. And succeed, they must!

Besides, they already learned their bitter lessons.

Recall that the 2023 annual budget was passed after they resisted it with all the stones and blades they had in their hands because only 4 arrogant epaLiFes attended the regular session that fateful day. 

Worse, the court rejected their claim of a strange principle in law in their bid to make the passage of the ordinance by the minority bloc as illegal: “Qualified majority” should be the determining factor, not simple majority! Did they honestly think they can bamboozle or impress the judge and citizenry with their convoluted logic and concocted “laws and rules”?

Their definition of a “qualified majority”? As members of the majority, his/her single vote should be considered a majority vote at all times! Just like when one is charged with theft, he/she is a thief regardless of the what he/she stole, and if coupled with aggravating circumstances, it’s called “Qualified Theft”! 

Most in Dagupan didn’t believe the 7 epaLiFes were capable of such stupidity but now they are convinced that Councilors Red Erfe-Mejia, Celia Chua Lim, Librada Reyna-Macalanda, Irene Lim- Acosta, Marilou Fernandez, Alfie Fernandez and Alvin Coquia are capable, and how!

So, wonder no more if the 7 epaLiFes will do more ‘no-shows” between now and 2025 elections!  It’s 7 or nothing! They fear that the presence of only 4 will result in the instant passage of ALL pending draft ordinances and resolutions, and the four that will attend will suffer the ignoble labels as traitors.

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