|Alleged Gloria Macapagal Arroyo mugshot.|
According to INQUIRER, the clerk of court of the Pasay Regional Trial Court Branch 112 has authenticated the mug shots.
In a radio interview, clerk of court Joel Pelicano said the photos he viewed via inquirer.net, the national newspaper's online edition, were "almost the same" as the ones the police submitted to the sala of Branch 112 presiding Judge Jesus Mupas on Monday morning.
He said the only difference was the text below the INQUIRER photos, which contained the case reference number.
Television news reports also quoted Southern Police District officer in charge Senior Supt. Jaime Bucayu as saying the mugshots used in the Inquirer were authentic.
Bucayu however said the source of the leak was unknown.
Earlier, Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said the mugshots that appeared in the front page of the Inquirer on Tuesday were fake.
The official called the INQUIRER Tuesday morning to issue the clarification, reiterating the government line that it was up to the courts to release the authentic mug shots.
Robredo said he had seen the actual mug shots after he made a request to be given "my copy" and could positively tell that these were not the same as the photographs sent to the INQUIRER and to the website mugshots.com.
When pressed, he declined to specify different details between the supposed fakes and the real mug shots.
The photographs, taken frontally and sideways, show former Arroyo wearing a neck brace after police formally placed her under arrest for electoral sabotage, a charge now pending in the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112.
Soon after INQUIRER editors obtained copies of the photos Monday, the same pictures, apparently from other sources, also appeared on the website.
But Robredo said he saw no point in releasing the actual photos despite public clamor.
In 2001, a photograph of Joseph Estrada also appeared in the media, taken after he was detained on plunder charges. The publication of Estrada's picture occurred, ironically, during the Arroyo presidency.
Robredo said "this is a different government now."
"Public documents are released for a certain purpose. But (if the Arroyo mug shots are to be released), for what good? If it is only to satisfy public demand, that's not a good enough reason," he said.
Robredo said the release of the mug shots would depend solely on the Pasay court hearing Arroyo's case and "this is not conditional on our part."