No privacy issue on use of body cams as evidence in court

No privacy issue on use of body cams as evidence in court

MANILA – Malacañang does not see any “privacy issues” when presenting the videos of body cameras used by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as evidence in court.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after the PNP Directorate for Operations (DO) was still looking into privacy issues when presenting the videos of body cameras as evidence.

“I don’t think there should be any concerns about privacy kasi iaanunsiyo naman po natin, ng gobyerno iyan na lahat po ng pulis na pupunta sa operations ay may suot nang body cam (because the government already announced that all police will wear body cams when conducting their operations),” he said in a press briefing in Parañaque City.

Roque said cameras are considered as “physical evidence” and hold more weight than testimonials.

“Ang mga cameras, kasama po iyan sa tinatawag natin na physical evidence and physical evidence of course when being appreciated by the court is a lot more believable than testimonial kasi hindi po iyan pupuwedeng matakot, hindi po iyan pupuwedeng magsinungaling ‘no (Cameras are included in what we call physical evidence and physical evidence of course, when being appreciated by the court, is a lot more believable than testimonials because that cannot be feared, that cannot lie),” he said.

He said several countries were already using body cams as evidence in a court case.

“This is physical evidence at ang iri-require lang po siguro is ma-qualify nga kung ano iyong camera at kung sino nagsuot noong camera na iyon at sino nag-turn on ng camera na iyon (the only thing that will be required maybe is to qualify what your camera is and who wore that camera and who turned on that camera),” he added.

On Monday, Directorate for Logistics director Maj. Gen. Angelito Casimiro said the PNP-DO is still looking into privacy issues when presenting the videos of body cameras as evidence in court.

Some lawmakers questioned why the PNP has yet to finish crafting protocols for the use of body cameras.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said it is a matter of copying best practices in the world on its use.

“What is so difficult and problematic in the implementation on the use of body cams by law enforcers here in the country? It’s not rocket science and the most is it would just take days to orient the users on its worldwide accepted protocols,” Barbers said.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite accused the PNP of “intentionally delaying” the protocols.

“Wala pang protocols? Ganito lang, suotin ninyo na sa mga operasyon ninyo (No protocols yet? All you have to do is wear it in your operations). I think they are intentionally delaying this so that they could continue with the modus operandi of planting evidence in their operations against activists, and other nefarious activities,” Gaite said.

The Palace earlier said the use of body cams would help “minimize doubts over the circumstances when someone is killed” in police operations. (PNA)

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