GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Media workers here and other parts of Region 12 may still access police blotters and other related reports, but with some restrictions on sensitive matters and cases that are still under investigation.ief Supt. Cedrick Train, Region 12 police director, made the clarification on Friday in the wake of protests from media groups over a directive issued by Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa withholding police spot reports from the media.
Police units were ordered instead to issue press releases as alternative to the sport reports and blotters.
The police official explained that reporters are not barred from getting “general information” regarding police operations and cases handled by their units.
Train said what the PNP chief meant with his order was to delay the releasing of information on cases that are still pending investigation and those subject to ongoing follow-up operations.
“There had been cases wherein investigations were compromised and some suspects were able to elude arrest due to the premature release of the reports, and we want to avoid that,” he said.
The police official countered criticisms that the directive was meant to “sanitize” reports and other information that would be released to the public by the media.
He said their personnel are mandated to make accurate and credible reports, especially on crime statistics.
Train said the PNP chief’s order mainly complements with such mandate and meant to enhance the credibility of the PNP.
“It’s not also proper to us to hastily release an information and take them back later on because they’re incorrect,” he said.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has urged Dela Rosa to “immediately rescind what is clearly an illegal order to withhold spot reports from media.”
It urged police commanders not to obey the order, noting 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.” PNA
Linda Netnet Ortiz, chair of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas chapter here, said they are strongly opposing the PNP chief’s order as it curtails the public’s access to information on police operations.
“We, the media, are the voice, eyes, and ears of the public so those information should not be barred from us,” she said in an interview over TV Patrol Socsksargen.
Emir Bariquit, chief reporter of the Radio Mindanao Network’s station dxMD, said “hiding” police blotters from the media will not do any good for police units.
He said there were cases in the past wherein some police personnel were angered by media reports that were supposedly inaccurate and did not favor them.
“This is the chance for the police to make their reports better so we can also make the right reports to the public,” he added. PNA