By RUTH LUMIBAO
MANILA – A smartphone application released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) quickly gained the ire of human rights advocates and netizens who said the application cannot cover up the rising human rights violations by state perpetrators.
Amid the declining public approval and reputation of the local police due to the rising deaths in anti-drug operations, the PNP launched on Dec. 4 the smartphone application “Know Your Rights.”
The application included reminders to police enforcers, such the Miranda doctrine, rules on the conduct on custodial investigation, rules on the implementation of search warrants, and the rights of persons arrested, detained, or under custodial investigation, as well as the rights against torture, as provided in Republic Act (RA) 7438 and RA 9745.
“Their ‘Know Your Rights’ app is a perfect example of hypocrisy, because the only application that is known to the PNP is the application of torture, the application of the policy of extrajudicial killings, the application of illegal arrests and trumped up charges, the application of injustice, and overall, the propagation of the virus of impunity,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
Some netizens lambasted the app for intrusion into the user’s privacy. Upon installation, the app asks permission to view and send SMS message, make phone calls, read the contents of the phone’s SD card and get full network access.
Today, Dec. 7, a Philstar report quoted assistant secretary Allan Cabanlong of the Department of Information and Communications Technology as saying that they have fixed the coding on the app.
“It doesn’t matter how many online apps the PNP intends to launch on human rights, nor how many copies of human rights manuals they disseminate. These cannot erase the irrefutable fact that offline and on the ground, they are among the foremost rights violators in the country,” Palabay said.
The application also earned the ire of netizens when its terms and conditions for downloading showed that it intruded into the privacy of the user. Slammed as a money-making scheme, all the information contained in the application can already be found in other online and offline sources without having to risk one’s own privacy.
“After all the money spent on these applications, these training and workshops, we still end up with the same rotten, bloodthirsty, arrogant, and rights abusive uniformed murderers. While it is true that the PNP and the AFP needs such initiatives the most, as long as their militarist framework remains, nothing is going to change,” Palabay added.
“No app or any masquerade whatsoever can deceive the people, not when the bodies of murdered Filipinos are piling up, tinged by the blood of this abhorrent and terrorist Duterte regime,” concluded Palabay.