Saturday, March 22, 2014

Law enforcers urged to create Facebook page of wanted criminals

MANILA-Law enforcement agencies should create a Facebook account which features the country’s thousands of wanted persons to forewarn the public and seek their help in bringing these fugitives to justice.

“Uploading the pictures and profiles of these wanted criminals on FB is easy and free. It is not that complicated,” Sen. Ralph Recto, who made the proposal, said.

Recto said agencies like the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency should start tapping social media as powerful tool in informing the people of the identities of fugitives from the law.

Even the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Recto added, can create a Facebook page showing the list, faces, and last known addresses of illegal recruiters who have been issued judicial warrants of arrest.

“It’s not just Facebook, there’s also Twitter. If we can Instagram the mug shots of wanted persons, the better.  We can also post in Youtube the footage of their capers which have been caught on cam,” Recto said, in batting for the online posting of a rogues’ gallery in various social media sites.

In the case of Facebook, in which the Philippines was ranked 8th globally in 2012 in number of users, it provides a portal where a netizen can view “what notorious criminals look like and what they do.”   

“Two years ago, there were already 27,720,300 Facebook users. On this site alone, you already have a big audience ready to receive, share the information you want disseminated,” Recto said.

“Social media can aid in the arrest of a serial child rapist, for example. If properly tapped, it can make the arm of the law longer,” Recto said.

Recto said government can only involve the citizenry in community policing if they are informed in advance of what and who to look out for.

“Nalalaman lang natin ang mga hitsura ng ‘sangkaterbang gapos gangs, carjacking syndicates, at naglipanang martilyo gangs kung sila’y nakabiktima at nahuli na,” Recto said.

“Parating after incident ang information. Kung kelan may nabiktima na ang isang sindikato na matatagal ng pinaghahanap, saka pa lang ipapakita ang kanilang mga litratro. Bakit hindi permanenteng i-paskil sa isang site ‘yan para anumang oras pwedeng silipin,” the senator said.

Instead of keeping these photo albums of wanted criminals in police precincts, they should be brought out in the open, he said.

Although some law enforcement websites do feature “wanted” notices, these are limited to the most wanted persons, Recto said.  

“Minsan nga ‘yung Top 10 lang. Sa Pilipinas, sa dami ng outstanding arrest warrants for serious crimes, ‘di hamak na libo-libo ang mga ito. What we need is a comprehensive registry,” Recto said.

He also observed that public notification of wanted persons is done through the old wanted posters which are “few and far between.”

“Mas marami pang karatula ng lipat bahay at tubero ang ating nakikita,” he said.

While he is pushing for the Internet posting of profiles of wanted criminals, Recto said utmost care must be done in their online publication.

“Data must be triple-checked, verified, peer-reviewed, carefully examined, and panel-approved before they are posted online. There must be sanctions for posting erroneous information. And a person who was wrongfully included in the wanted list should be financially compensated if only to deter carelessness,” he said.

Recto said the police need not commission an IT company to create police notification apps or some security software.

“Bago tayo gumasta ng milyun-milyon dyan, gamitin muna natin kung ano ang libre at kilala na ng tao,” he said.

“Kung meron man tayong gustong i-customize, siguro yung ‘unlike’ button na pwedeng i-click kapag nabasa natin sa Facebook ang curriculum vitae ng isang criminal,” he said. 


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