A news blackout for the Catanduanes police?

“Most Wanted Person Arestado sa Bayan ng Pandan


Arestado sa kasong frustrated murder ang isang 40 anyos na lalaki nitong Martes sa Brgy. Bagawang, Pandan, Catanduanes.

Ayon sa Pandan Pulis, bandang alas dose trenta (12:30) ng tanghali, ika- 18 ng Mayo 2022 nang ikasa ng kanilang operatiba ang operasyon bitbit ang Warrant of Arrest na nilagdaan ni Hon. Lelu P. Contreras, Presiding Judge, RTC Branch 43, Virac, Catanduanes.

Positibong naaresto ang suspek na kinilala sa alyas na “Junjun”, may asawa, at isang construction worker at residente ng parehong barangay.

Si “junjun” ay sinampahan ng kaso noong taong 2010 matapos niyang pagsasaksakin ang nakaalitan. Kaugnay nito sya ay napabilang sa listahan ng most wanted person ng pandan.

Kasalukuyan siyang nakakulong sa Pandan MPS at nakatakdang ipresenta sa korte.

Dalawang daang libong piso (P200,000.00) ang rekomendadong piyansa para sa kanyang pansamantalang paglaya”


The above press release was issued last week by the Catanduanes Police Provincial Office, through its Police Community Affairs and Development-Public Information Office.

At first glance, the press release written in Filipino seems okay, except that on close inspection, it lacks vital details.

First and foremost, it hides the real name of the accused, which has been identified by the police only as “Junjun.”

Unlike their counterparts in the Bicol mainland, Camp Camacho officials insist that releasing the names of those arrested in police operations would be in violation of the Data Privacy Act.

Details of the 2010 case are also missing, including the name of the victim and the circumstances of the alleged incident. Even the docket number of the criminal case has been left out, closing an avenue for the journalist to check the facts with the RTC.

Unfortunately, this has been the practice of the Catanduanes police command since the stint of then Provincial Director Col. Paul Abay, who rarely met with the local media.

The current PD himself, Col. Benjamin Balingbing Jr., has not called for a meeting with the Catanduanes media since he took over the post on Jan. 11, 2022.

The same stance has apparently been adopted by some police chiefs, who most often then not ignore requests for information from local journalists.

Thus, the reading and listening public should not wonder why most members of the local media are not exactly fond of the police, especially the officers of Camp Camacho.

Information is the lifeblood of the journalist and this information is being released in trickles or devoid of vital facts by the police when it reports on matters of public interest especially crimes committed against citizens and significant incidents concerning public safety and welfare.

In fact, in the past weeks, the local police did not post reports about the man who recently drowned in the river in Batalay, Bato, the retired teacher who was found dead inside her home in San Miguel, and the mountain climber who fell ill while trudging up Mt. Pacogon also in San Miguel and died at the Bato district hospital.

It is inconceivable to think that Camp Camacho police officers fail to see that the Data Privacy Act does not apply to the processing of personal information necessary to respond to national emergency or to comply with the requirements of public order and safety, as implemented by the Philippine National Police.

Already, many members of the Catanduanes media have refused requests for them to serve as witnesses of the police in their anti-illegal drug operations.

Perhaps, it would need an outright boycott of police activities plus a new blackout with regards to police press releases to persuade Col. Balingbing and his officers to be more giving to the local media as far as information on significant incidents on the island is concerned.

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