THE Philippine National Police (PNP) will look into the possible lapses of the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) for allowing vlogger Rendon Labador to live stream on social media a raid in an online lending firm in Makati City.
In a press conference on Monday, October 23, 2023, PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) Director Major General Eric Noble said they will conduct a pre-charge investigation against those involved in the operation of the ACG at the office of Golden Koi Lending Co. Inc. on October 20.
He said the probe will focus on the permission bestowed by the ACG to Labador to broadcast the operation live through his Facebook page “Boses ng Bayan,” showing the faces of some of the employees and making remarks as if the employees were already found guilty of involvement in illegal activities. This gained criticisms from netizens, including the families of the firm’s workers.
PNP Chief General Benjamin Acorda said he also ordered the identification of violations committed by Labador.
Under Memorandum Circular 2023-053 entitled Revised Media Relations Policy signed by Acorda on September 11, 2023, embedded media during police operations is not allowed, as media representatives shall be present only during the physical inventory of evidence.
Acorda also noted that information about certain operations should be organized first before it can be released to the media to ensure that only the correct and verified information will be provided to the public to avoid confusion and violation of laws, particularly on the identification and presentation of alleged suspects.
“We ensure that only photos, names and details of crimes validated, take note of validated wanted persons are published and disclosed to the public. These shall include details in case of their arrest. Also, we ensure that publication, disclosure of the details of those in the validated wanted persons and upon their arrest and also avoid premature, take note, premature release of information that may interfere with the investigation or apprehension such as the nature of leads and other specifications,” he said.
“Also, we ensure that the announcement of the cause of death shall be based on the official findings of the medical examiner. We avoid opinions or speculations on all incidents but tingnan mo ‘yung na-release ay medyo may kasamang speculations or nangunguna na and that is dangerous to our presentation of facts later on or presentation of evidence. Ensure that press releases or statements are based on the investigation. Avoid releasing information upon arrest and formal charging of suspects prior to adjudication unless there is an expressed permission,” he added.
The raid was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine Anti Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) by virtue of a search warrant.
The PAOCC said it was also not informed about the ACG’s decision to bring Labador along and to broadcast the operation live.
The lending company was alleged of harassing and threatening its lenders who fail to pay their loans on time.
Labador even interviewed PNP-ACG spokesperson Captain Michelle Sabino during the live broadcast.
In a statement, the ACG said Labador was seeking collaboration with the ACG in order to help advocate for ordinary people’s rights.
Labador, a content creator, has been in bad light for allegedly “bullying” several personalities online, resulting in the banning of his various social media accounts. (SunStar Philippines)