MANILA: Stressing that their rights should also be protected, a senior Philippine government official has ordered a stop to the common practice of the police to present arrested crime suspects to the public, more popularly known to media as “photo and video opportunities.”
“We need to balance the right of the public to know alongside the rights of the suspects,” Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior and Local Government explained.
Roxas pointed out such “photo ops (photo opportunities))” without the consent of the suspects or their lawyers violated their human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
As part of the ban, Roxas said mediamen would no longer be allowed to interview arrested criminal suspects under police custody without their consent or that of their lawyers.
Under his order, Roxas also explained suspects would only be presented to the public during public legal proceedings like inquests where they are brought to court to enter their pleas.
The 145,000-strong Philippine National Police (PNP) is under the direct control and supervision of Roxas’s department.
Roxas set the tone of his order when he stopped the presentation to media of the arrested gunman suspected of killing the woman mayor of Isabela province in the Northern Luzon highlands at the PNP national headquarters in suburban Quezon City, Metro Manila.