Netizens slam PNP over social media monitoring plan
MANILA, Philippines — Filipino netizens have been continuously scoring the Philippine National Police (PNP) for days since Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the government’s Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said on Saturday that they would monitor Filipinos’ social media posts in search of quarantine violations.
Most agreed that instead of violating people’s privacy, the police should first punish police officers who have already been caught blatantly violating the quarantine rules that Eleazar appears very eager to enforce.
The netizens cited as an example Metro Manila police chief Major. Gen. Debold Sinas and dozens of police officers who were photographed partying without masks and celebrating without physical distancing during his 55th birthday in May.
Their photos were uploaded to the Facebook page of the National Capital Region Police Office but were later deleted.
Sinas, who was not relieved from his post despite the violations, is facing criminal charges before the Taguig Prosecutor’s Office for violating quarantine rules together with 18 other senior police officers.
But Eleazar argued that his proposal would not lead to privacy violations and would instead empower people.
“We will see to it…that we will not abuse anyone and if there [would] will be abuses, they will have to answer to us,” Eleazar said in a television interview, without saying what he did to make Sinas and his men answerable.
“Contrary to what others think that this will be abused, it’s the other way around. You 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 let us know,” he added.
He assured the public that no one would be arrested based solely on their social media posts.
“We need to have more evidence, like corroboration and witnesses, for us to pursue the case,” he said.
“There is a due process and we will observe due process, and just what we do, just report to us anything that you believe is a violation of your rights and we will act accordingly,” he added.
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