PNP: Not our duty to the press to release Enrile’s mug shots
You want mug shots of “Tanda” (old man)? Then go to the Sandiganbayan.
The spokesperson of the Philippine National Police yesterday gave this unsolicited advice to reporters who raised a howl over the news blackout on the detention and medical condition of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.
Journalists are also questioning the PNP’s decision not to make public Enrile’s mug shots, as requested by Enrile’s lawyers.
Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, spokesperson for the PNP, defended the PNP decision not to provide photographs of the 90-year-old senator while he was being booked for plunder and graft charges at Camp Crame last Friday.
“The mug shot is just part of the arrest warrant. Technically, the mug shots of Senator Enrile are the property of the court,” Sindac told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.
“If only members of the media are doing their jobs diligently, [they will] ask for permission from the Sandiganbayan [to be given] copies of the mug shots,” he added.
Asked why the PNP gave copies of the mug shots of Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada to the media, Sindac said the police provided only pictures of Revilla’s booking process, not his mug shots.
In the case of Estrada, he said the PNP did not officially release the senator’s mug shots.
As to the mug shots of other high-profile inmates, including alleged pork barrel racket brains Janet Lim-Napoles, he said those people did not make any request like Enrile’s lawyers did.
No obligation to the press
“The PNP has no obligation [to the press] to release the mug shots. Anyway, [Enrile] is still a [sitting] senator. He [has] not [been] convicted of any crime yet but just an accused,” he said.
“Maybe the media should just wait until Monday to make a request to the court,” he said. “Is [that] too much to ask of you?”
Enrile, whose supposed code name in the records book of Napoles was “Tanda,” has been staying in an air-conditioned room in the PNP General Hospital at Camp Crame since the Sandiganbayan ordered his arrest on Friday.
He was taken to Asian Eye Institute in Makati City on Saturday morning to receive treatment for an age-related macular condition.