PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar officially unveiled the use of Body-Worn Cameras or BWCs by the police who are on official mission to serve arrest or search warrants, during hostage-negotiation and the conduct of security coverage in major events like the forthcoming State-of-the-Nation-Address by President Duterte.
Three years after its use was first announced, Gen. Eleazar said police will finally be utilizing body-worn cameras or their ‘eyes and ears’ in the real sense of word to ensure the transparency and legitimacy of police operations, including the service of search and arrest warrants.
Gen. Eleazar also made good on his word to have BWCs used during his term as the 26th head of the 220,000-strong police organization.
“Dati ang sinasabi lang natin, baka sakali. Ngayon, tuloy na tuloy na matapos maglabas ang ating Supreme Court ng mga panuntunan sa pagsumite bilang court evidence ng mga video na kuha ng ating mga body cameras,” he said.
The top cop thanked the past PNP Chiefs starting from now Senator Ronald dela Rosa who initiated the review for the procurement of the best body cameras up to retired Gen. Debold Sinas who signed the final papers of the delivery.
He thanked the Supreme Court for continuously assisting the PNP in coming up with the guidelines for the presentation of the BWC data as court evidence.
“The procurement and eventually the use of Body Camera Worn System is a tribute not only to Kian delos Santos who died of police abuse in Caloocan City but also to the policemen whose ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty were tainted by claims of extra-judicial killings, planting of evidence and other unfair allegations,” he said.
“Ang mahalaga dito ay masisiguro ng mga BWCs na walang paglabag sa Police Operating Procedures o sa karapatang pantao na magaganap bilang proteksyon ng ating mga kababayan. Magsisilbing proteksyon na din ito ng ating mga kapulisan laban sa mga malisyoso at maling paratang,” he added.
The initial agreement is that the use of the BWCs will only start after all the personnel assigned to them are trained. But since a total of 623 policemen were already trained to use the body-worn cameras, Gen. Eleazar said that he already gave the go-signal for its use starting Friday, June 4.