Philippine National Police Oscar Albayalde has banned the presentation of arrested suspects before reporters, his spokesman said Tuesday.
Supt. Benigno Durana said Albayalde’s order came after his meeting with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle last week.
“We enhance our strategy against illegal drugs by upholding, observing, respecting and promoting human rights and the rule of law,” Durana said.
“And the way we do that is by upholding the human rights even of crime suspects.”
Albayalde said the PNP’s officials had decided to follow a memorandum written by former PNP Chief Jesus Verzosa on Oct. 7, 2008, that prohibits putting suspects in front of a “firing line” of newsmen.
“Firing line” describes the position cameramen usually take during a press conference or ambush interviews. They form a line or a semi-circle with their cameras pointing to the subject, ready to shoot. Reporters stand at their sides, armed with questions.
“The presentation of the suspects to the media is not only violative of their constitutional rights of presumption of innocence, but also their human rights, subjecting them to unwanted publicity,” Verzosa’s memo says.
It says presenting the accused “besmirches their name and reputation, including that of their family, before guilt is proven.”