Manila Mayor Isko Moreno should stop parading suspected criminals at press conferences, jailed Senator Leila de Lima argued today in a statement on her official Facebook page, saying the public humiliation violated the prisoners’ presumption of innocence.
“It’s admirable that Mayor Isko is cleaning Manila by fighting criminality. [But] we wish to remind him that presenting suspects is a violation of their human rights,” the former Department of Justice secretary, awaiting trial on drug charges, said in Filipino.
“I noticed that Mayor Isko asked these suspects to turn their backs and hide their faces,” de Lima added. “However, they are still introduced to members of the media and other people [at these press conferences].”
De Lima was referring to Moreno’s Monday press conference in which he hauled out 35 suspected drug dealers caught by the Manila Police District in Baseco Compound in Tondo. At a press conference last month, Moreno did the same thing with three suspects arrested for rape and robbery.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) issued a memorandum back in 2008 prohibiting the showcasing of suspects to the media. However, Manila City Hall’s Legal Office chief Emeterio Moreno defended Moreno’s actions, pointing out that the memo only serves as a guideline for the department and does not carry the force of law, reported Rappler.
De Lima said in her statement that she will file a bill that would explicitly prohibit such practice.
A vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, de Lima has been in jail for drug-related charges since February 2017. She was accused of receiving money from drug dealers back when she was Department of Justice secretary, allegations she said were “total, absolute lie[s] and fabrications.”
Meanwhile, Moreno is currently the Philippine’s most viral local politician. He has earned a legion of new fans since starting his term thanks to his savvy use of social media in trumpeting his achievements, such as cleaning up a feces-infested park.
However, some netizens have complained that his PR team has gone overboard with its constant barrage of press releases and announcements.
This article, Senator de Lima urges Manila Mayor Moreno to stop parading suspects for cameras, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!