Chiz presses approval of bill regulating presentation of suspects to media

Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday pressed for the approval of a measure that would regulate the presentation of criminal suspects to the media.

”This measure is aimed at preventing a violation of a basic human right, which is a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Presenting suspects to the media violates this right, because it projects them to be guilty already of the crime, aside from subjecting them to humiliation,” Escudero, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said.

He said the Senate has already approved a joint resolution which requires state authorities to regulate the practice, seeking a balance between the rights of the suspects and the right of the people to information as well as press freedom.

The resolution directs the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement and government agencies to issue implementing rules and regulations regulating the practice of presenting suspects to the media.

”We must remember that these suspects are still under investigation when law enforcers present them to the media. It constitutes unwanted publicity that only works to besmirch their name and reputation and that of their family,” Escudero said.

The resolution also directs the government to include in its rules on the regulation of this practice provisions on administrative sanctions against those who would violate the rights of the suspects.

The resolution has been passed on third reading at the Senate and is expected to be acted upon in the House of Representatives before Congress goes on recess on October 17.#