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DCPO upholds media's right to access police blotter

DAVAO City (PIA)- -The Davao City Police Office assured media practitioners that they can access police blotter reports, without the danger of legal repercussions like being charged for violating the provisions of the data privacy law.

This assurance was made by Colonel Alberto Lupaz, director of the Davao City Police Office, during the AFP-PNP Press Corps Briefing, Aug. 16, at the Royal Mandaya Hotel.

He said as long as the media practitioner have the permission from the chief of police and the desk officer-on duty to browse the blotter, it is okay to allow the media access to information through the police blotter.

“The media practitioner must ask the permission from the chief of police in that police station and the police officer-on duty.  It is not proper that the media practitioner would immediately browse the police blotter without the knowledge of the chief of police and the desk-officer,” Lupaz said.

He said that unlike in the past when the police blotter could be ripped off, it cannot be done now because the contents of the blotter are written in a chronological order and is computerized.

He added that while the police blotter is a public document but those accessing it must secure the permission of the chief of police and desk-officer on duty.

Lupaz said the police tends to be careful when it comes to the blotter from the Women and Childrens Protection Desks of the Philippine National Police since it has the names of the rape victims and the perpetrators. 

“Oftentimes, the reports coming from the WCPD are marked confidential.  Rape cases and acts of lasciviousness involving minors are hidden deliberately.  We don’t show them off because we are protecting the parties involved,” he said.

Captain Hazel Tuason, spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office, allayed fears of local journalists as long as everyone follows the law.

She said even the law on data privacy has to be clarified as to the extent it must be applied.

“We just have to maintain that it is for the protection of the community,” Tuazon said.

The issue stemmed from the detention for three days of Radyo Natin reporter Jose Rizal Pajares in Iriga City on August 2 after trying to access the police blotter to search for news reports.

The Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 was used by the Iriga City Police in pressing the charges against the police beat reporter.

Iriga chief of police, Lt. Colonel Ralph Jason Oida, was the officer who made the accusation against Pajares for allegedly violating the Data Privacy Act.

Pajares is out on bail which he paid at P10,000.  (JSGD/PIA Davao del Sur) 

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Joey Sem Dalumpines


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