MANILA – A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Friday welcomed the plan of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to roll out body-worn cameras (bodycams) as it will ensure the integrity of police anti-drug operations.
Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said the use of body cams will hold erring law enforcers accountable and at the same time, disprove false accusations made against the police.
“Although it took years of reluctance and even a procurement corruption controversy before the PNP decided to implement the use of bodycams, we now look forward to police operations where any abuse of law enforcement will have video-recorded evidence, which can be used to hold erring policemen accountable,” Biazon said in a statement. “On the other hand, false accusations against law enforcers will be easily disproved as the recordings from cameras worn by the police personnel will show the step-by-step actions they take in operations.”
Biazon authored a bill seeking to mandate law enforcement personnel to wear body cameras during law enforcement and special police operations.
He noted that the cameras by themselves are not what make them effective tools in ensuring transparency in police operations, but rather the entire system, including the archiving hardware and software.
“And most important are the protocols and procedures on the use of the cameras, data processing and storage, and the legal use of the recorded material as evidence,” he said.
Biazon said the passage of his proposed law would provide a legal cover on the use of the equipment, which would ultimately produce evidence that could be used in court.
“I urge my colleagues in the House to begin deliberations and ensure the swift passage of the bill since the PNP is about to begin using the body cams they have purchased,” he said.
Under the bill, the deactivation of body cameras shall be prevented until an encounter or operation has been fully concluded and the law officer has left the scene.
The bill also provides for the storage and archiving of video footage for at least three years from the time it was recorded.
The PNP announced on Thursday that some 2,600 body cameras are up for tests on October 12 before their distribution to police field units, with anti-drug operations getting priority in the distribution of the body cams. (PNA)