THE Philippine National Police (PNP) was urged to hasten its rollout of body-worn cameras.
Rizal Representative Fidel Nograles made the call amid continued controversy in PNP anti-drug operations.
“Madaliin po sana natin ang pagkalap at pagpapagamit sa ating mga police operations ng mga body-cam. Malaki ang maiaambag nito sa pagsigurong above-board ang mga ops natin,” said Nograles, vice-chair of the House Committee on Justice.
“The sooner we can provide our police with these devices, the sooner we can guarantee that there is no foul play involved in our operations. These should all help boost the public’s trust in law enforcement authorities,” he added.
Another recent anti-drug operation was mired in controversy after two persons, one of which was a minor, were killed in Biñan last week, which led to 10 police officers being placed under restrictive custody.
Police claimed that Johndy Helis, a 16-year old boy, resisted arrest along with his companion, Antonio Dalit.
The boy’s family, however, disputed this account and claimed that Helis was actually handcuffed and had begged the police not to kill him.
While Nograles lauded efforts to provide body cameras for members of the PNP, with the PNP announcing earlier this month that it had procured 2,696 body cameras worth at least P288 million, the lawmaker stressed that “we need a greater number of body cams across the whole country at the soonest possible time.”
“Sa ngayon kasi nasa Metro Manila pa lang ang mga body cam. The incident which has led to the unfortunate death of a young boy proves that we need more of these devices in the whole country, and not just in our nation’s capital, because the tendency for abuse is not relegated to the NCR alone,” the neophyte solon said.
He also expressed hope that law enforcers “would follow to the letter” the guidelines and protocols on the use of body cams that the Supreme Court is set to release soon.
“Since the country’s best legal minds will be working on these guidelines, I am confident that these will be clear and would root out the possibility of extra-legal means being employed in our operations. Pero ang request natin ay dapat idiin natin sa ating kapulisan ang halaga ng mga guidelines na ito, and put in place severe sanctions for those who willfully ignore them,” the solon said.