Poe: Court order may be needed to get transcript of Purisima’s text messages
MANILA, Philippines—The Senate might have to get a court order or a written consent from resigned Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima to obtain a copy of his short message service (SMS or text message) conversations during the Mamasapano operation on Jan. 25.
Responding to a two-page subpoena duces tecum issued by the Senate committee on public order, Smart Communications had informed the body that its system was not capable of tracking the contents of SMS except for the log of time and numbers of a subscriber.
“Smart telecom has formally replied to the committee that its system is not capable of tracking the contents of SMS but only the log of the time and numbers and that it would require either a court order or written consent from the subscriber for it to comply,” Sen. Grace Poe, who led the Senate probe as head of the committee, said in a text message to reporters.
“The committee is still weighing its options on the matter given time consideration and the relevant legislative recommendations in the committee report,” Poe added.
But even if there’s a court order or consent from Purisima, the senator said the committee still might not be able to obtain the contents of the SMS, pointing out Smart’s claim that it could only track the log of time and numbers of a subscriber.
“Anyway, the committee has gathered enough from which to draw conclusions and come up with legislative recommendations,” said Poe.
The committee issued the subpoena last week to Napoleon Nazareno, president and chief executive officer of Smart Communications, even after it had concluded its probe on the Mamasapano incident that left 44 elite policemen dead.
In the subpoena, Poe’s committee “commanded and required” Nazareno to submit immediately upon receipt to the body the transcription of the SMS conversations under a mobile number registered under the name of Purisima for the period of Jan. 25, 2015 from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The subpoena was pursuant to Sen. Loren Legarda’s request to confirm the veracity of the documents submitted to the committee.
Purisima earlier disclosed to the Senate his exchange of text messages with President Benigno Aquino III from the time he first reported the operation in the morning of Jan. 25.
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