MANILA - Lawyers of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile are asking the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to release to the public the mug shots of the detained lawmaker.
In a July 3, 2014 letter addressed to PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Benjamin Magalong, the Ponce Enrile Reyes & Manalastas Law Offices said the release of the senator's mug shots would be "cruel, inhuman or degrading."
"We kindly request that in case Senator Enrile shall be detained at your facilities, any such 'mug shot' or photograph of the booking process be kept confidential, or its taking altogether dispensed with," the letter said.
"It is our position that a 'mug shot' (an informal term for booking photograph), or any photograph taken during the booking process, should be merely used for record and identification purposes," it added.
"Most often, these 'mug shots' are compiled into one book, shown to eyewitnesses, victims, or investigators for identity verification, or, if the subjects have absconded, distributed through 'most wanted' posters. These 'mug shots' can only be released if and when the subject is convicted, or, sooner, if law enforcement agencies deem it necessary for public safety reasons," Enrile's lawyers said.
They said there is no need to take or publicize Enrile's mug shots because he has not yet been convicted of the plunder and graft charges filed against him in connection with the pork barrel scam.
The lawyers added that mug shots are not needed "if the subject's identity is established or well-recognized" and "if there is no related public safety concern."
"Absent these three requirements... the taking of mug shots or their publication would be unnecessary and would just expose the subject to 'cruel, degrading or inhuman' punishment... even while he has not yet been convicted," they said.
The PNP-CIDG has yet to issue a statement on the issue.
Police earlier released booking mug shots of Enrile's other co-accused -- Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Senator Bong Revilla, and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. - with a report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News