Bodycam bill filed in House

August 22, 2017 - 12:53 PM
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File photo of a U.S. police officer with a body-worn camera. (Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — Amid the mounting furor over suspected extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs sparked by the death of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a lawmaker said it is about time to pass a bill he filed in August that would require policemen to wear body cameras on operations.

“Bodycams serve as neutral eyewitnesses that will tell what actually transpired,” Muntinlupa Representative Rufino Biazon said in House Bill No. 2741.

(READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE BILL HERE)

“Having video recordings of operations will serve the interests both of policemen and the public they come into contact with. Many policemen have also been victims of trumped up charges of abuse against them, just as members of the public have been victims of abusive law enforcers,” Biazon said.

Aside from this, he said, “the public and the police have been engaged in a ‘he said, she said’ confrontation, with both sides firm on their respective positions.”

“To avoid this kind of tug of war for truth between the public and the police, to prove beyond doubt how police operations are conducted and to help prevent or prosecute such abuse or extra judicial killings, a means to document police action is necessary,” Biazon said.

Aside from mandatory body-worn cameras, the bill also has provisions to protect the privacy of persons, preservation of evidence, and basic parameters on the use of the video recording devices.

With the Philippine National Police’s proposal for P1 billion to fund Tokhang Part 2 next year, Biazon said there should not be a problem with funding the bodycams.

“If the PNP will ask for more funds to support their anti-drug campaign, there should be a mechanism of accountability for their operations. Use of body cams is one of those mechanisms. Any appropriation for Tokhang Part 2 should include funds for body cams,” he said.