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Senators chide PNP over spot reports

By HANNAH TORREGOZA

Senators yesterday said they find it highly unusual that the Philippine National Police (PNP) has started limiting the release of spot reports to members of the media.

Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV, a member of the Senate minority bloc, said this raises questions whether the police are really hiding anything following the public backlash over the rising number of killings in connection with Duterte administration’s war on drug.

“May tinatago ba sila?” Aquino asked.

“Last hearing, Gen. Ronald (Bato) dela Rosa agreed that the PNP has nothing to hide kaya nagtataka tayo kung bakit ayaw ibigay ng ilang tauhan niya ang spot reports sa media,” Aquino reiterated.

“Kung wala silang tinatago, dapat nilang ipakita ang mga ito sa media,” he said.

Defending journalists, Aquino said he believes reporters are responsible enough to handle confidential information contained in the spot reports.

In addition, he also said the PNP’s directive to withhold spot reports from the media contradicts Duterte’s push for transparency through the Freedom of Information (FOI) in government.

The senator said the minority bloc also expects Dela Rosa to comply with his earlier commitment that he would give senators a copy of the PNP’s spot reports, especially on cases of alleged extrajudicial killings and deaths outside police operations.

The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs is set to hold its next hearing into the various drug-related killings, including the minors who were killed in the drug war on Tuesday next week.

“Itong spot reports, nagpapatunay kung meron talagang kababalaghan na nangyayari o wala kaya mahalaga na makuha namin iyan sa aming imbestigasyon,” he said.

“We still expect that the PNP will submit them to the Senate as promised,” Aquino emphasized.

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, former PNP chief, said the PNP leadership ought to answer what specific security classification category does police spot reports fall under?

“Kung walang security classification either restricted, confidential, secret or top secret, walang dahilan para di ibahagi ito,” Lacson pointed out.

“Di ba naglabas na ng EO ang Malacañang at covered lahat na executive offices kung saan freedom of information eh.

Ma-violate nila ang EO na nilabas ng Pangulo,” he said.

Lacson said that as far as he knows spot reports do not have a security classification.

“I just don’t know now. But Gen. Dela Rosa promised during the last hearing, they will submit it to the Senate,” he said.

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