Authenticating the alleged GMA mugshots
They said they won't release them, but the world was anxiously waiting. Someone would leak them, or maybe not? At Mugshots.com, we had our hopes. We certainly didn't think we will be in the middle of it all. Little did we know.
Like others, we first came across two side-view (profile) mugshots on some social sites that looked to be authentic. We ran a preliminary authenticity check and felt these are indeed authentic.We went ahead and published copies with a strict diclaimer that "no guarantee of authenticity is made".
Shortly after our post we were contacted by X, who asked to remain anonymous. Being a news organization, we of course agreed. We asked X if he was able to provide us with the missing frontal mugshot photograph and he agreed. Minutes later, we had the third frontal mugshot in our possession and we went ahead and published a copy of it on our website, always keeping our visitors up-to-date with update notices. At about the same time, the Philippines Daily Inquirer (PDI) also posted a set of three mugshot photographs, and they credited these images to mugshots.com. The problem? It was a different set. First, the pictures didn't have the "Mugshots.com" watermark that covers all our pictures. Second, one photograph (refered later as the 4th photograph), the left-side profile mugshot photograph, had no caption. We took some notes of these observations and moved on. Later in the day Philippines Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo called the mugshots "fake" while referencing some words about the captions in the photographs:
"The Inquirer mug shots showed a person who appeared as Arroyo, and who wore a neck brace, along with her name and supposed Criminal Case Number R-PSY-11-04432-CR. But Robredo said the numbers in the supposed mug shots are “inaccurate" and the information is “incomplete." - SOURCE: GMA NEWS
At that point we figured the authenticity denial from Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo and others must have had something to do with those captions at the bottom of the mugshot photographs. We contacted X and asked about the captions. X then confirmed that the captions were added before the photographs were sent to us and were indeed not part of the original and authentic mugshot photographs. Referencing to the 4th photograph we then asked X for the authentic mugshots, those without the captions. After a quick email exchange X agreed to send these over to us.
In our opinion any previous authenticity denial was likely in reference to the textual alteration on the original pictures, but didn't have anything to do with the actual photographs. Furthermore, the 4th photograph which was first published by PDI (and quickly taken down) and the exclusive set obtained by Mugshots.com showing these photographs without any caption are believed to be the absolute most authentic GMA mugshots available, possibly more authentic than what some officials are even aware of.
Lastly, a final authenticity confirmation came from attorney Joel Pelicano, RTC branch 112 clerk of court, when he told The STAR that upon comparison the photos that are now kept at the court’s vault are similar to the published photos minus the vital data of the original copies."
“It’s the same photo without the details at the bottom,”