Joint Task Force COVID Shield Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar said Monday the police’s social media monitoring would target government officials and prominent personalities who committed quarantine violations.
“Huwag matakot ang ating mga kababayan kasi alam ninyo, ang natatarget dito, in fact, mga prominent individuals and government officials. Bakit? Dahil sila ay madaling maidentify, nagba-viral sila… at the same time, sila kasi dapat ang nangunguna dito kaya wala dapat ikabahala ang ating mga kababayan,” Eleazar said at a press briefing.
“In fact, we are empowering our barangay residents na magbigay sa atin ng impormasyon,” he added.
The PNP official clarified that cops would not arrest alleged quarantine violators, but the social media post will serve as a “basis for further investigation.”
“Wala kaming aarestuhin dito. It will serve as a basis for further investigation but first it has to be validated. Possible kasi fake lang ‘yan eh. So kung navalidate natin, then we will also get the cooperation of the barangays para imbestigahan natin siya,” he said.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan said the social media monitoring would instill social responsibility among the public.
“Social responsibility ang sinasabi diyan. Kapag umabuso ka naman hindi naman maganda, hindi ba?” Cascolan said at the same press briefing.
He assured the public said the cops would not abuse the measure.
Police social media monitoring targets prominent individuals, gov’t officials
Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), any form of surveillance “must be subject to the standards of necessity, legitimacy, and proportionality.”
“Otherwise, violation of these standards, especially if not founded on legal measures, may lead to offenses against the people’s rights. This is a scenario that we wish to avoid, noting that we look upon the police as law enforcers and not as the first ones [to] breach laws,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing that such a measure is not illegal, mainly if the posts were made public.