PNP: Media can still access spot reports
The Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified through a press release that no new directive or text memorandum to cease giving spot reports to journalists was given by PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to lower units.
“The PNP clarified that there is no directive from PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa prohibiting the members of the media to access reports. The PNP leadership has not issued a new memorandum on policies and guidelines related to criminal investigation and media relations,” reads the press statement released by the PNP's Public Information Office.
“Therefore, members of the media can access spot reports with proper requests for the sake of transparency and accountability,” adds the statement which also reiterated that the media will continue to receive spot reports which include immediate information on the incident.
After the news broke of the curtailment in the access to spot reports, Chief Superintendent Jose Mario Espino, Regional Director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas, said that the memo was only directed for sensitive information on the case files.
In response to the press statement though, Espino said, “Will wait po sa memo for us to read it,” Espino said in a text message to The FREEMAN.
Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) spokesperson Police Superintendent Virgilio Bayon-on also clarified that media can still access spot reports from the different police stations in the province. However, hard copies of the spot reports cannot be shown to the media anymore.
“Makakuha ra man gihapon og spot report, wala man na gi-ingon nga gitago nato. Manghatag man gihapon ta og impormasyon pero lahi na sa una nga mahawakan man gyud sa media ang spot report,” said Bayon-on.
He said that this is to ensure that followup operations will not be preempted.
“Tungod pud ni nga basin ma-paralyze ba ang atong follow-up operation, pero muhatag gihapon ta og impormasyon og unsay mga detalye nga gikinahanglan sa media,” Bayon-on added.
PNP spokesperson Police Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos had earlier said that there is a memorandum issued from the National Headquarters prohibiting the media from accessing police spot reports.
“May tinatago ba sila?” asked Senator Bam Aquino regarding why the PNP is not allowing reporters to access copies of spot reports.
"Kung wala silang tinatago, dapat nilang ipakita ang mga ito sa media," said Aquino in a statement.
Aquino said that journalists are responsible enough to handle confidential information contained in the spot reports.
He added that the PNP's directive to withhold spot reports from the media contradicts President Rodrigo Duterte's push for transparency in government matters through the Freedom of Information (FOI) Order.