PNP probes vlogger for possible privacy breach during police op

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is investigating vlogger Rendon Labador for a possible privacy breach during a police operation against an online lending company in Makati City, PNP Chief General Benjamin Acorda Jr. said on Monday.

Labador was present during the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group’s (ACG) operations against Golden Koi on Friday and documented it on his Facebook Live.

“We are looking into this...Definitely we don’t encourage ‘yung ganung klaseng actions (these kinds of actions). We’ll be making some directives and we will initiate measures so as to assure we don’t repeat the same incident,” Acorda said.

The probe will look into possible violations under Memorandum Circular 2023-053 or the Revised Media Relations Policy.

“If we will see some violations, definitely we will throw the book to them,” Acorda said.

According to the PNP, embedded media practitioners during police operations are prohibited. However, media representatives may be present during physical inventory of evidence.

The vlogger’s live coverage drew negative reactions from the relatives of the employees whose faces were shown in the video.

Acorda said they are careful not to show faces of suspects, especially during operations.

Labador also interviewed PNP ACG spokesperson Capt. Michelle Sabino during the Facebook Live coverage.

In a statement on Sunday, Sabino admitted granting media access to the police operation “in the spirit of transparency.” But she said the access was in accordance with existing police operational protocol.

“Addressing concerns about the potential violation of privacy committed by Rendon, we will thoroughly investigate this matter. If any violation is confirmed, we will take appropriate and corrective action,” the statement read.

PNP ACG clarified its partnership with Labador is “unrelated to the recent operation.”

The PNP chief believes the partnership may show exclusivity and sow doubt on the raid.

“With regards to the actions of this vlogger, if ever it is in coordination or with the clearance of the officer na nandoon (who was there), it does not mean we condone na ‘yung buong kapulisan (the whole police force),” Acorda said.

The PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management said they have written a memo for the PNP ACG to explain the incident.

PNP ACG officials will undergo a pre-charge investigation on the matter.