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Philippine police under fire for witholding crime reports

Journalists, rights groups call move attempt to sanitize Duterte's drug war

Philippine police under fire for witholding crime reports

Neighbors of Kian de los Santos seek justice for the youth police claim was killed in a shootout. (Photo by Vincent Go)

September 14, 2017

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Journalists and human rights watchdogs have condemned a directive by the Philippine National Police to withhold the publication of crime scene reports that up to now were quickly made available to the press.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on Sept. 13 said the move aims to sanitize the image of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war. 

It also said the move followed exposure of police attempts to fabricate accounts of killings during their drug war operations.

The multi-faith rights group, Rise Up for Life, said witnesses have accused police units of writing false reports to cover up extra-judicial killings.

Taxi driver Tomas Bagcal, who witnessed the killing of a 19-year old robbery suspect, said police made him sign a fake affidavit attesting to a shootout that never happened.

Earlier, witnesses in the killing of a 17-year old student, Kian de los Santos, also refuted police reports of a shootout. 

The police want journalists now to wait for press releases. The NUJP said press releases, angled to favor the issuing body, are not objective sources of information.

Rights and media groups said they would challenge the order, using an executive order on Freedom of Information signed by Duterte soon after assuming office.

"If need be, we will go to the courts," the NUJP said.






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