No invasion of privacy in monitoring of quarantine violations on social media -- PNP

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said there is no invasion of privacy in their monitoring of social media posts that blatantly violate quarantine rules such as large number of people in drinking sessions and parties.


PNP chief Police Gen. Camilo Pancrairus Cascolan said the focus of their monitoring are quarantine violation posts that would go viral, those who were subjects of the complaints, and those who are blatantly disregarding rules set to protect public health from the coronavirus infection.

“We will never intercede or never enter your Facebook account or whatever. It does not become private when you involve other people’s rights,” said Cascolan.

“We are very compliant with the Data Privacy Act but when you already know that it is prohibited to gather in large groups to drink and to hold parties as there is no virus, why would you still violate the rules and post them in social media?” he added.

Cascolan said their decision to monitor social media are due to reports and complaints about uploaded photos and videos that show a large number of people engaged in drinking sessions and big party celebrations.

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield, in coordination with the PNP, have tasked police commanders to monitor social media and use the uploaded photos and videos to ask those involved to explain why they violated the quarantine rules.

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield and concurrent Deputy Chief for Administration of the PNP, said monitoring of social media has been part of the law enforcement strategies of the PNP.

He said that all police stations are encouraged to create and maintain their own social media account in order to encourage the people in their respective areas of responsibility to coordinate and assist the PNP in community policing.

Eleazar said that the monitoring is coordinated with the local government units (LGUs), especially on the barangay level.

Once a group of people is monitored to have violated quarantine rules on social media, the barangay officials concerned would be informed and would be asked to summon the people involved to explain.

“There will be no arrest here. It will just serve as the basis for further investigation but first it has to be validated,” said Eleazar.