Human rights commission warns cops against online stalking of quarantine violators

Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) yesterday warned the Philippine National Police against the latter’s plan to monitor social media accounts of people who have violated quarantine protocols.

In a statement, the CHR said that even if the Philippines is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, “respect and protection of human rights must continue to prevail.”

Read: Top Metro Manila cop denies hosting party, violating social distancing despite viral photos

“While we recognize that the right to privacy is not absolute, any interference or surveillance must be subject to the standards of necessity, legitimacy, and proportionality. Otherwise, violation of these standards, especially if not founded on legal measures, may lead to offenses against the people’s rights. This is a scenario that we wish to avoid noting that we look upon the police as law enforcers and not as the first ones breach laws,” the commission added.

Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said on Saturday that the police force may use online photos of people to prove that they are violating the quarantine. The police will be looking for images of people drinking or celebrating together and even those riding pillion. He also urged the public to report the violators, even if they are cops.

A high-ranking officer, National Capital Region Police Office Chief Major General Debold Sinas, was caught in May violating quarantine rules when he hosted a birthday celebration right inside a police camp. Sinas had insisted that the photos which emerged from the bash were edited. 

 

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