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Philippines: Description of a police blotter and how the information is recorded in the blotter, the way in which information in a blotter is produced, by whom, the language in which blotter information is recorded

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 9 March 2010
Citation / Document Symbol PHL103384.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Philippines: Description of a police blotter and how the information is recorded in the blotter, the way in which information in a blotter is produced, by whom, the language in which blotter information is recorded, 9 March 2010, PHL103384.E, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a member of the Philippine National Police Force (PNP), who is working as an attaché and police liaison officer at the Philippines Consulate General in San Francisco, stated that the PNP uses a "traditional police blotter," which the Attaché described as being a "thick notebook" (Philippines 24 Feb. 2010). The Attaché added that the PNP is slowly shifting to a computerized system (ibid.). Media sources corroborate that the police blotter has traditionally been a "hardcover notebook" (GMA News 8 Sept. 2008; Philippine Daily Inquirer 3 Mar. 2008), but that some police jurisdictions are moving to an electronic blotter system (known as an e-blotter) (GMA News 8 Sept. 2008; Philippine Daily Inquirer 29 Dec. 2009).

The Attaché states that English is "typically" the language used to record complaints and that complaints are entered into the blotter "chronologically by date" (Philippines 24 Feb. 2010). In other words, "the complaints are recorded according to the dates that the entries are logged" (ibid.). Similarly, a 29 December 2009 article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer corroborates that the conventional blotter system "lists down crimes reported in a community." In addition, an 11 November 2008 article, also published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, reports that the police blotter is an "index of crime in the community" that contains information about crimes reported to the police by complainants.

An article published in Sun.Star Network Online, a "network of community newspapers in the Philippines," (Sun.Star n.d.), reports that police officers first enter information "occurring in their area of jurisdiction in the complaint assignment sheet" (9 Nov. 2008). This information is then transferred into the official police blotter, according to the article (Sun.Star 9 Nov. 2008).

However, an article published by GMA News states that the "traditional 'blotter book' system" involves having a police officer record the details of a criminal incident in a notebook, based on information told to the officer by a complainant (8 Sept. 2008). Similarly, the Attaché stated that police officers record the details of an incident including, typically who, what, when, where, why and how, as well as the name of the officer on the case and remarks, such as "for record purposes, for follow-up, for filing" (24 Feb. 2010).

The GMA News article quotes a police chief as saying that because there is no prescribed format for entering information into a traditional blotter, some of the details pertaining to an incident can be left unrecorded (8 Sept. 2008). Furthermore, in an article published on the government of the Philippines website, a lawyer is reported as saying that the information in the blotter is "very basic" (8 Nov. 2008).

A first person account written by a woman who made a report to the police was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (3 Mar. 2008). The woman describes seeing a new police blotter on a desk - a thick red book prominently marked with the words "police blotter" (Philippine Daily Inquirer 3 Mar. 2008). She writes that it was a relatively new book and that only a few pages had thus far been used to record reports (ibid.). She describes the way in which the police interviewed her about her incident and stated that the main outcome of her case was that it was recorded in the blotter for reference (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


GMA News. 8 September 2008. Mark Meruenas. "QC Police to have Computerized Blotter System in 2 Months." [Accessed 21 Jan. 2010]

Philippines. 24 February 2010. National Police Force (PNP). Correspondence with a member of the PNP.

_____. 8 November 2008. "Palace Orders PNP to Clarify New Police Blotter Policy." [Accessed 19 Jan. 2010]

Philippine Daily Inquirer. 29 December 2009. Abigail Kwok. "Metro Police Sets up E-Blotter System." [Accessed 21 Jan. 2010]

_____. 11 November 2008. Amando Doronila. "Analysis: Covering the Police Blotter." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2010]

_____. 3 March 2008. Karina Antonette Agudo. "Inside a Police Station." [Accessed 19 Jan. 2010]

Sun-Star. 9 November 2008. Annabelle L. Ricalde. "Media Outcry vs Police Blotter Rule." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2010]

_____. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 29 Jan. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources from the Philippine Daily Inquirer were unable to provide information within the time constraints of this Response.

Internet sites, including: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Asian Human Rights Commission, Negros Chronicle, Relief Web, Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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