CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT
June 17, 2018
The decision of PNP chief Oscar Albayalde to stop parading crime suspects puts back in place the order of then PNP chief Jesus Versoza in 2007 that bans the Philippine equivalent of the U.S.-style “perp walk.”
What Versoza ordered was a rung or two higher than what Cebu media asked the regional police and the NBI in 2006, or a year before the PNP-wide ban.
In a consultation of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) last Aug. 31, 2006 with then NBI regional chief Medardo de Lemos, PNP regional deputy for administration Ronald Roderos, Cebu Province police chief Vicente Loot, and Cebu City police chief Melvin Gayotin, the law enforcers agreed to modify methods in presenting crime suspects (a) to be more humane and (b) to uphold the presumption of innocence and avoid self-incrimination. They included stopping the practice of requiring the suspect to display a card that proclaims his crime and of showing the handcuff up front. The consultation which heard a number of beat reporters also adopted standards in reporting crime news.
A year after that, Versoza, heeding the request of several organizations, including media itself, imposed the ban on parading crime suspects. However, Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa as President Duterte’s PNP chief restored the practice in 2016.
With the return of the ban, there may be need for the public through media to see a crime suspect in person, such as when torture is alleged or the fact of arrest is doubted. But, as Albayalde said, police will have to find ways to inform other than the “perp walk.”
PACHICO A. SEARES