Lawmakers alarmed by PNP’s visits to journalists’ homes

(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers on Sunday expressed concern over a police order authorizing cops to visit the homes of journalists “for their security,” following the murder of veteran broadcaster Percy Lapid in Las Piñas City.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada said that while he understood the sense behind it, he questioned its purpose and tagged its execution as “contemptible” and “the most stupid idea.”

“I can see the sense in this move of the PNP [Philippine National Police] but its execution is rather contemptible. It’s the most stupid idea, I must say.  Kung gusto nilang alamin kung sino ang mga may pagbabanta sa buhay ng mga journalists, hindi ba dapat na una nila itong inalam sa mga news organization na kinabibilangan ng mga mamamahayag (If they wanted to know who is threatening the lives of journalists, shouldn’t they have first informed the news organizations that the journalists belong to)?” said Estrada in a statement.

He also questioned why police officers who visited journalists’ homes were not in uniform, and why there was no coordination with the local officials, as well as with the respective media companies that the journalists were part of.

“And the most glaring of all, how could they get hold of very personal and sensitive information such as a home address of a journalist?” asked Estrada.

Estrada said that coordinating with media organizations would have made it easier to identify who needs their help, adding that law enforcement “should know how to properly enforce existing laws, not violate them.”

“Malinaw na nilabag ng hanay ng PNP  ang Data Privacy Act at dapat na managot sila dito (The ranks of the PNP clearly violated the Data Privacy Act and they should be held accountable for it),” he added. -Zacariano Sarao/ Inquirer