Proper use of police bodycams stressed

February 26, 2024 Alfred P. Dalizon 103 views

THE Philippine National Police leadership on Monday reiterated to all its operating units nationwide the strict rules on the proper use of Body-Worn Cameras during service of search warrants.

PNP chief General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. described the order as a “reiteration of our procedures” on the use of BWCs in the aftermath of the controversial raid in Parañaque City on September 16 last year wherein a Southern Police District officer was accused of ordering a subordinate to turn off her BWC at the height of the raid.

National Capital Region Police Office director Major Gen. Jose Melencio C. Nartatez Jr. for his part said it is the duty of every unit commander or a team leader to ensure that every personnel will be “doing the right thing.”

“In this particular case (Parañaque City raid) which is an implementation of a search warrant, it is very clear na during the implementation of a search warrant, it should be covered by the usage of a BWC and any other alternative recording device. Dapat nasusunod lahat yun lalo na me Supreme Court ruling na,” Maj. Gen. Nartatez said.

The Metro Manila police chief has ordered the dismissal from the police force of 10 SPD personnel including a major who was tagged by his subordinates as the one who ordered them to shut off the BWC issued to a policewoman and turn off the CCTV recording in the area.

The case has been the subject of a congressional hearing since last month.

Maj. Gen. Nartatez said the SPD raid “stand in direct contradiction to our duty to uphold the law and safeguard the rights of all citizens” which prompted him to dismiss the 10.

The official said they have also established that the operating units had committed numerous violations such as Robbery – for taking, with intent to gain, the personal properties not subject of the search warrant (P27M, Rolex watch, other personal belongings); planting of evidence – two firearms and two magazines were intentionally planted to appear as recovered evidence; abuse in the service of search warrant – operating team went beyond the limits set forth in the said warrant by seizing properties/items not described in the warrant; violation of domicile – operating team entered rooms not specified in the search warrant; perjury – making false statement while under oath; falsification of Public Documents – the P27M was deliberately not included in the inventory; obstruction of justice – unplugging and destruction of the CCTV/DVR and the body worn camera was intentionally deactivated; and violation of police operational procedures and other directives.

The official dismissed the 10 led by Lieutenant Colonel Jolet Guevarra and Major Jason Quijana, ordered the demotion of seven and penalized 17 others with suspension.

He said they are still awaiting the presidential clearance to conduct administrative disciplinary proceedings against the former SPD director and one of his staff.