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MANILA, Philippines - The real thing or not?
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo on Tuesday afternoon once and for all agreed that the mug shots of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that appeared on a national broadsheet the same day "were not the same" as the official ones.
After a police officer earlier claimed that the published mug shots were the real ones, Robredo had to personally visit the offices of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Camp Crame to double-check the controversial photos. Robredo arrived at around 1 p.m. and left minutes later.
"Not the same as what was submitted to the court," Robredo said in a short message to Interaksyon.com after his visit.
Even the CIDG said the published mug shots and even those on social networking sites were "not the actual mug shots" submitted to the Pasay City Regional Trial Court, according to a ranking police officer who requested anonymity as he is not authorized to speak about the matter.
"Former President Arroyo's mug shot taken from her hospital bed at St. Luke's Hospital in Taguig which has been circulated on the Internet is different from what the PNP CIDG had taken," Robredo said.
PNP chief Nicanor Bartolome also denied the authenticity of the photos.
"Let me state for the record that the published pictures are not the authentic mug shot photos of Rep. Arroyo taken during the mandatory booking procedures," Bartolome told reporters on Tuesday.
"Let me cite the report of the CIDG that noted several discrepancies in the published photo -- most notably the characters stamped on the published images," Bartolome said.
According to Robredo, the actual mug shots taken contained all case information on the booking plate, or the plate below the picture of the suspect.
The picture shown to Robredo contained Arroyo's name, the case she was charged with, and the case number from the Pasay court.
"Based on what appeared on the Internet, it appeared that the booking numbers below the published photos were photoshopped and are different from the reports submitted to me," Robredo said.
According to the police, the booking number on the published photos were incorrect.
On the published photo, the criminal case is R-PSY-11-04432-CR. But the original mug shot contained the number R-PSY-11-04432.
"Discrepancies" were also noted on the photo's size and dimensions and captions.
Senior Supt. James Bucayu, acting chief of the Southern Police District, earlier claimed that the photos were authentic.
But Robredo said Bucayu was not authorized to speak on the matter.
Bucayu was called into the office of Bartolome to explain his statement.
According to Bartolome, no sanctions will be meted out against Bucayu.
The PNP has appointed a spokesman on the matter.