Facebook page for wanted criminals sought

By Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 25 2014 03:20 AM | Updated as of Mar 25 2014 11:20 AM

MANILA, Philippines - These days there is a Facebook page for just about anything.

Why not have a Facebook page for the Philippines’ “most wanted criminals” to extend the reach of the arm of the law?

In 2012, the Philippines was ranked eighth in the world in terms of the number of Facebook users – something which Sen. Ralph Recto said could be utilized for purposes other than self-promotion.

He noted that social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter could serve as a powerful tool for law enforcement, especially in tracking elusive criminals.

Specifically, Recto is pushing for a Facebook page for the country’s most wanted, a database of the who’s who in the criminal world for everyone here and abroad to see.

“Uploading the pictures and profiles of these wanted criminals on FB is easy and free. It is not that complicated,” he said.

Tracking the whereabouts of the country’s most wanted is not an easy job for the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation because they are not exactly out roaming around in the open.

But if their faces are posted all over Facebook for millions of users to see, then their world would become much smaller.

At present, Recto lamented that these most wanted posters are seen only inside police precincts, so very few people apart from policemen are aware of their identities.

“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 on YouTube the footage of their capers which have been caught on cam,” 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,” he added.

The senator noted that ideally, the most wanted registry should include not only the top 10 but every fugitive in the country.

In pushing for his proposal, Recto said that the implementation must be done very carefully so that only those who are actual fugitives are included in the database.

“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 added.