No order barring media access to spot reports: PNP spokesperson

MANILA — There is no order from Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, that expressly prohibits members of the press from accessing police spot reports, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said.

“The PNP leadership has not issued a new memorandum on policies and guidelines related to criminal investigation and media relations,” Carlos said in a statement issued Friday.

He said the PNP adheres to the memorandum issued on Feb. 18, 2014 that conforms to the policies for media relations during the conduct of criminal investigations.

“Such memorandum clearly indicates there is no prohibition on the access of the public or media to the information from the police blotter,” Carlos said.

He further said that the PNP observes a policy of rational transparency in all police activities, and of upholding the right of the people to be informed on matters of public interest.

“If there is an ongoing follow-up operation and investigation on the incident, some information may not be accessible to the media as it may compromise the results of ongoing operation and investigation,” Carlos said.

The PNP spokesperson also cited the importance of Freedom of Information for the sake of transparency and accountability.

For instance, Carlos said, members of the media may have to prepare requests to access police reports as this is a safeguard to guarantee that official information is released only to responsible persons for a reasonable and lawful purpose.