Duterte: House can set aside CHR budget to buy body cameras for police
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday suggested that the P600 million that the House of Representative slashed from the Commission on Human Rights’ budget be used to buy body cameras for the police.
Duterte made the proposal as he continued to slam Commission on Human Rights Chairman Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon, calling him a spokesperson for the Liberal Party and opposition forces and accusing him of being fixated on teenagers.
Speaking at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City, Duterte said that if the House would refuse restore the budget of the CHR it could instead give the money to the police.
“If you don’t want to give back the money to the CHR, why don’t you invest the money to buy equipment for the police, so that all police in the Philippines – that’s about P600 million, and it can buy it all – so that they can have 24 hours a day a camera, I think it’s shouldered,” he said.
“You are free to embed and place cameras on the body of the law enforcers whenever they go out to operate because the Philippines is a narcostate already,” he added.
Duterte made his the suggestion as part of his speech about the release of SPO2 George Cañete Rapinta by the New People’s Army (NPA).
Lawmakers earlier suggested that police officers don body cameras came after questionable anti-drug operations led to the killings of supposed drug peddlers.
One such operation that drew public outrage led to the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, whom surveillance video footage showed being dragged to the place of his death by police officers. This belied police claims he was killed in a shooutout.
Duterte earlier promised that if police officers would be found guilty of killing Delos Santos they would go to jail.
Delos Santos’s killing was one of three teenage deaths that have stoked the public’s anger.
On Saturday, Duterte slammed Gascon for supposedly being fixated on teenagers.
“This Gascon, he has been all about teenagers for several days. You are like a pedophile, you son of a bitch. Why do you like teenagers so much? Are you? I am now having doubts. Are you gay or are you a pedophile?” said the President, who had been castigated in the past for his sexist remarks.
He praised CHR Commissioner Gwen Pimentel, who he said had a “good word” for the police officers who were also suffering.
“Every day, a policeman dies,” he said. “It’s not published by media.”
Pimentel is the sister of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, a Duterte ally.
Duterte also alleged that Gascon was in cahoots with the opposition.
“You rode the line of the political enemy. That is the problem,” he said.
He reiterated his criticism that the CHR was ignoring the victims of criminals and “forgetting all other crimes committed in the name of drugs.”
He said many children were falling prey to other criminals who rape and kill them.
“Everything’s politics. Why can’t you move to other issues that are besetting this country?” he asked.
He said there were also many people from Marawi who had been suffering and the CHR had been silent on this.
He reiterated that he would not stop his war on illegal drugs, saying he would not be responsible for the country going to the dogs because of narcotics. /atm