Senator wants cops to wear body cameras during drug raids
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian wants the Philippine National Police (PNP) to reconsider requiring its operatives to wear body cameras during drug raids.
In a statement issued on Monday, Gatchalian said he would file a bill on this “in response to the suspected murder of 17-year old Kian Loyd delos Santos in the hands of police anti-illegal drugs operatives.”
“Footage collected from police body cams would provide concrete evidence to hold police scalawags administratively and criminally liable for violating their oath to serve and protect the people,” he said.
He added that video evidence of all anti-illegal drugs operations would be a “powerful tool” to ensure transparency and accountability in the execution of the government’s war on drugs.
Citing Delos Santos’s killing as an example, he said the security footage that captured Caloocan cops mauling and shooting the victim would be a “potentially damning evidence against the police officers involved in the killing.”
The neophyte senator called on PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and other officials tasked to oversee the war on drugs to support the proposal.
“The video footage will separate the decent, law-abiding policemen from the scalawags,” he said. “Policemen wrongly accused of abuses during police raids will be able to use the video evidence to clear their names, while the scalawags will be thrown in jail for their crimes.”
Under the bill, which has yet to be filed, all law enforcement personnel authorized to conduct anti-illegal drug operations be equipped with body cameras.
These cameras must be set to record footage during the entire operation, from deployment to the target until the conclusion of the mission.
“To ensure strict compliance with the body cam policy, law enforcement personnel who engage in a raid, buy-bust operation, or other anti-illegal drugs operation without recording the required video footage will be summarily suspended pending investigation,” he said. “Should the unrecorded operation result in the injury or death of a drug personality or any other individual, the erring policeman will be automatically dismissed from service and recommended for criminal prosecution.”
The Senate is expected to investigate the killing of Delos Santos last Aug. 16 in Caloocan.
Police claimed the senior high school student resisted arrest and allegedly fired at them. But the security footage obtained by the media depict otherwise.
Witnesses said two police officers in plainclothes suddenly grabbed Delos Santos and blindfolded him before they shot him. They also saw the unarmed Delos Santos crying and pleading for his life.
Later, the police said they found two sachets of shabu and a .45-caliber pistol in his possession. The Delos Santos family vehemently denied that the teenager was a drug user or a pusher. /atm
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