A website which describes itself as a “search engine for Official Law Enforcement records, specifically booking photographs” has published alleged mugshots of former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has been charged with electoral sabotage last Friday.
Mugshots.com noted that the two-side photographs first “appeared on a number of social networking sites” on November 20, while the frontal mugshot was sent “from a highly reliable source” a day after. The website added this disclaimer: “No guarantee of authenticity is made therein.”
In a report by ABS-CBNNews.com’s Ira Pedrasa, Arroyo lawyer Jose Flaminiano said it will be up to the Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) whether to release her mugshots, adding that they “won’t bother to file a motion regarding that issue.”
Let me note the inconsistency committed by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the first Philippine media outlet to publish these still unauthenticated photos. In a report titled “Arroyo faces more troubles” (which is their banner story in today’s issue) written by Leila Salvatierra and Philip Tubeza, the photo caption goes: “Mug shots of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as shown from www. mugshots.com.” Note that the story was posted at 12:27 AM.
However, less than two hours later, a photo used in the article titled “Most wanted Arroyo mug shots surface in cyberspace” by Miko Morelos has this lengthy caption: “These mug shots of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not come from the Pasay City Regional Trial Court which has refused to release the police photos. Sources who requested anonymity sent the photos to the Inquirer” (emphasis mine). The story was posted at 2:15 AM.
Is there any difference between the two sets of photos? Did the Inquirer claim ownership of photos not originally sent to them? I’m not saying they are being dishonest. I have this theory: PDI may have indeed got the photos from another source – which explains why Mugshots.com watermarks are no longer visible in the second set of photos.