The National Privacy Commission (NPC) on Monday said any evidence of quarantine violations gathered by the police on social media must be obtained legally.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier ordered all its police commanders to monitor social media for photos showing citizens violating quarantine protocols, such as drinking sessions and other forms of celebrations.

NPC commissioner Raymund Liboro said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo that policemen may use social media to look for possible violations of quarantine protocols but these must be non-invasive.

“Yung leads or ebidensiyang makukuha sa social media must be legally obtained. Itong ating law enforcers ay kailangan gumamit ng technique na hindi naman nanghihimasok,” he said.

Liboro encouraged the PNP to better explain to the public how it would be monitoring social media posts to allay the public’s fears of mass and indiscriminate surveillance.

“Aware dapat ang lahat at trained ang law enforcers na gagamit nito para maprotektahan ang karapatan ng mga mamamayan. At the end of the day, kung mawawala din ng tiwala ang mga mamamayan sa kanila, ‘yan ay bagay na hindi makakatulong sa ating kapulisan,” he said.

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield clarified that the police will only monitor public posts of outdoor activities, including viral posts and complaints received by the PNP’s social media accounts, adding that the PNP doesn’t have manpower to scour millions of social media accounts.  Rommel F. Lopez