PNP warns sanctions vs cops abusing social media monitoring
MANILA, Philippines — Police officers who will abuse their authority to monitor social media to spot quarantine violations will face appropriate sanctions, the commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield warned on Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, head of the task force primarily tasked to enforce quarantine protocols amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, said even critics of the social media monitoring agree that it is a “good idea” although they fear it is prone to abuse.
“You know, all the things, guidelines and provisions can be abused and just because it could be abused hindi na natin gagawin (we will not do it anymore),” he told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
“Kaya nga dapat may safeguard tayo, and we will see to it na now with our chief PNP and myself being the Joint Task Force commander, wala kaming aabusuhin, at kung merong mag-aabuso, mananagot sa amin,” he added.
(That’s why there should be safeguards, and we will see to it that with the chief PNP and myself being the Joint Task Force commander, we will not allow abuse on anyone on this matter. If there are any police officers who will abuse the policy, they will have to answer to us.)
Eleazar also said that the monitoring is “not an issue against privacy” as it would even empower ordinary citizens to report government officials who violate quarantine protocols and post such violations on social media.
“Contrary sa iniisip ng iba na ito ay aabusuhin, kabaligtaran po, kayo ang mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na makapagreport ng impormasyon. And just like I said, the PNP leadership will not tolerate any abuse. Iparating nyo lang po sa amin,” he added.
(Contrary to what people think, this will not be abused since the public will be given the opportunity to report information. And just like what I said, the PNP leadership will not tolerate any abuse. If there will be any abuse, just report it to us.)
The official also reiterated that no one will be arrested based solely on social media posts. Previously, he explained that witnesses and evidence are still needed in investigating posts showing quarantine violations.
The task force commander likewise assured that there are safeguards in monitoring social media posts.
“The way we access and monitor these, we cannot access the private accounts of the people, so basically ‘yun pa lang (even that limitation itself), that is a safeguard already and we cannot just use this in filing the cases,” he said.
“There is a due process and we will observe due process, and just like ang ating ginagawa (what we do), just report to us anything that you believe is a violation of your rights and we will act accordingly,” Eleazar added.
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