Video as element of crime

In this article “DoJ chief: PNP can’t force ABS-CBN to give raw video, the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed had it not because of the video footages of television station covering the standoff at a Makati hotel, they would have not been able to file charges of rebellion and inciting to rebellion against those supposedly involved.

As they continue their investigation, they sent subpoena to media institutions, particularly the ABS-CBN, who has video footages that could help help in identifying those civilians involved. The police made it clear in their statement;

“We could not have charged the civilians without the ANC footages. The reason why there were 14 who were released, it’s because these 14 did not appear in the footages,” Virgilio Pablico, CIDG chief legal officer

It’s clear. The civilians who have been charged for rebellion are seen in the video, and those who were not seen were off the hook. In filing of their complaint, presumably those video footages taken by television stations are given heavy weight in determining that there was supposedly an element of crime of “rebellion”.

Okay, if it is so, does it mean that the television journalists who are reporting the events are as perhaps could be held for rebellion because they are in the video? How about the person who’s taking the video, is his/her presence at the scene though not seen in the video also be liable for rebellion? Does it prove conspiracy either?

So, if video footages should be given weight in determining the element of crime, why not include the passersby, jeepney drivers, onlookers, or even the police and military themselves who are seen in the area assaulting the hotel. Or, the stunned hotel staffs and guest who are running out of the hotel for fear of their life?

This mental reasoning by the chief of the police’ investigating body reflect how completely irrational if not lunatic the police are in investigating cases. The manner of their investigation was worst; they ignore the witnesses or circumstances that could have strengthen their case present in their area. What they are telling us: without the video we can’t do anything, and this “coup” plotters would escape from law.

Putting persons accountable for the criminal acts is of course their duty, but the manner that should have been taken in establishing whether or not a person would be held accountable for violating the penal code should also be according to lawful and rational principles. This was not the case though.

Instead, even during the aftermath of the standoff, what they did was to arrest all those inside the hotel altogether–never mind whether those arresting them had personal knowledge or had witnessed of a crime had been committed under the criminal procedures on rules of warrant less arrest–which instead resulted to the arrest of journalists covering the standoff.

In your country, do police do this and is the process of determining an element of crime in filing charges was also done in this way?

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Filed under Laws, Police, Public opinion

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