NUJP demands Bato restore media access to police spot reports; Ping agrees

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MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines demanded Wednesday that Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa “immediately rescind what is clearly an illegal order to withhold spot reports from media.”

“We likewise urge police commanders no to obey a patently illegal order,” the media group added, pointing out that “a police spot report is a public document that should be available to everyone, not just media, in the principle of transparency and accountability.”

“There is absolutely no reason why the agency sworn to ‘serve and protect’ the people should cloak its operations in secrecy,” it stressed.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, agreed.

In a brief statement, he said: “The first question we need to ask the PNP is, ‘What is the security classification of a spot report?’ If it has none, meaning it’s neither restricted, confidential, secret (n)or top secret, there is no reason not to make the same available.”

News reports said the Central Visayas police began implementing Dela Rosa’s directive, which gave no reason for why media should be denied access to the spot reports, and said they would instead be handing out press releases.

But the NUJP said this was not acceptable, noting that “press releases, by their very nature, are sanitized and angled to favor the issuing body and are, thus, not an objective source of information.”

It urged journalists “to raise our collective voice in condemnation of this blatant efforts to withhold the truth and, if needed, to be ready to seek all legal redress.”