Press Release
November 22, 2011

Transcript of follow-up interview on "MUGSHOTS VIOLATE

There is no constitutional right to privacy per se. if you look at our bill for rights, you can't find it there. Neither can you find it in the bill of rights of the United States. We based our bill of rights on the bill of rights of the US. But in the US, the Supreme Court held that amongst the provisions in the Bill of rights, you can infer to the right of privacy. So in effect, the Supreme Court in the US created a personal right to privacy, although there is no provision in the Bill of Rights. An American case is not necessarily decisive in our jurisdiction--just because the US SC decided one way does not mean we will decide that way. But American cases, because our legal systems are basically the same, are considered authoritative in our country. If the US SC says there is a right to privacy, in all likelihood the Philippine SC will rule the same.

When the mugshot of the accused is taken, could it be a violation of her personal right to privacy if this is published? The answer is yes. A mugshot is necessary to protect the public because it is necessary for the police or the military to put it on file just in case there is a need for identification by the investigators. It is another question whether a newspaper or a website can publish a mugshot. And the US ruled in a 2011 case that even if a person was already convicted, still he has a right to privacy with respect to mugshots because according to the US SC a mugshot is a very unique and powerful instrument. It is not a usual, common photograph. It already suggests guilt on the part of the person. What's more is that it catches the individual at his most embarrassing moment.

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