PNP readies massive info drive on use of body-worn cameras

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, on Sunday ordered PNP deputy chief for operations, Lt. Gen. Israel Ephraim Dickson to prepare for a massive information campaign on the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs).

Eleazar made the directive after the Supreme Court (SC) En Banc on Friday issued a resolution that includes the rules on the use of BWCS in the execution of warrants.

“Inatasan ko na ang ating (I ordered our) PNP Deputy Chief for Operations Police Lt. Gen. Bong Dickson na makipagugnayan sa atin legal service and human rights affair office pati na rin itong ating technical working group na ating binuo para sa ating malawakaing information drive sa aming hanay tungkol sa ipinalabas na rules on the use of body-worn cameras ng Korte Suprema (to coordinate with our legal service and human rights affair office together with our technical working group that we have created for our massive information drive in our ranks about the rules on the use of body-worn cameras released by the Supreme Court),” he said in a video message on Sunday.

He said the use of BWCs will soon be part of the police operational procedures throughout the country.

“Hindi pa man tuluyang maipapatupad ito sa mga susunod na araw dahil sa ating mga ginagawa proseso, nararapat lang na paghandaan na ng ating PNP ang implementasyon nito dahil ito naman ay produkto ng pagtutulungan ng Korte Supreme at PNP (Although it will not be fully implemented yet in the coming days due to our ongoing processes, our PNP should prepare for its implementation since it is a product of the cooperation between the Supreme Court and the PNP),” he said.

On Saturday, Eleazar ordered the creation of the technical working group (TWG) that will study and incorporate the rules crafted by the SC into the police guidelines on the use of BWCs.

Eleazar thanked Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo for supporting the PNP’s efforts to further professionalize the organization and to strengthen a human rights-based approach in the conduct of police operations.

The Directorate for Operations and the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) were tasked to come up with a recommendation on the composition of the TWG.

The TWG was also instructed to come up with modules that will be used in the training and seminar programs on all the legal aspect of the use of BWCs to the police units which received the units last month.

The PNP launched the body-worn camera system on June 4 to ensure transparency and legitimacy of law-enforcement operations. Initially, a total of 2,696 body cameras have been distributed to 171 police stations and offices.

The SC resolution issued last Friday was based on the request of assistance of the PNP from the High Court which was facilitated by Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año and Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra.

The SC rules include specific provisions from the issuance of the arrest and search warrants by the courts and in the service of the warrants by policemen.

The SC rules also have guidelines on the preservation of the recordings from the BWCs, the chain of custody of the video recordings and legal procedures that must be observed in accessing the BWC recordings.

“The rules on the use of the body-worn cameras crafted by the High Court are a big help to erase doubts and speculations in the conduct of our operations, especially in our aggressive campaign against illegal drugs,” Eleazar said. PNA.GOV.PH