A group of lawyers lambasted what it called “flagrant and inane State overreach” by the Philippine National Police (PNP) for reportedly asking individuals to fill up forms that would detail their social media accounts and group affiliations.
In a social media post, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said:
“Assuming the authenticity and ownership of the document, this is again another brazen incursion and invasion on basic rights to privacy, communication, association, liberty of abode, … with no compelling public interest or cogent legal basis to stand on.
“It is simply blanket profiling and slothful police intelligence work via subtle coercion, intimidation and threat of prejudicial consequences if there is non-cooperation, non-disclosure, inadvertence or mistake.”
Through its President Edre U. Olalia, the NUPL said the reported move of the PNP is made worse by “asking the citizens to pry open for the police social media accounts with chosen privacy options.”
“What could be more flagrant and inane than such State overreach?” asked Olalia.
Human rights group Karapatan said it has received information that the forms are “purportedly being distributed by the Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo, a group attached to the Philippine National Police and allegedly founded by National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Director Alex Monteagudo, in Lupi, Camarines Sur.”
“We caution the public on providing sensitive personal information without knowledge on declared specified and legitimate purposes, as stated in the National Privacy Act of 2012,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay warned in a statement.
“We likewise call on authorities to respect people’s right to privacy and against profiling which arbitrarily infringes on citizens’ liberties,” she added.