MANILA – Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon has welcomed the plan of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to roll out body-worn cameras (bodycams) to ensure the integrity of police anti-drug operations.
Biazon said the use of body cams by policemen will hold erring law enforcers accountable and at the same time, disprove false accusations made against the police.
“It took years of reluctance and even a procurement corruption controversy before the PNP decided to implement the use of bodycams, but 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. On the other hand, false accusations against law enforcers will be easily disproved as the recordings from cameras worn by police personnel will show the step-by-step actions they take in operations,” Biazon noted.
The lawmaker authored a bill requiring law enforcement personnel to wear body cameras during law enforcement and special police operations. He said 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 of hardware and software.
“Most important yet 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, adding that 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 Biazon’s 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 said it now has some 2,600 body cameras that are up for tests on October 12 before their distribution to police field units, with anti-drug operations getting priority in their distribution.