PNP chief calls for fairer, impartial law on body cameras
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa on Monday called on the Senate to craft the body camera law without the premise that there are irregularities in police operations.
Facing a Senate panel hearing on bills mandating and institutionalizing the use of body cameras, Gamboa said that if the law on the use of such equipment would be “too strict,” it may “affect the operational efficiency” of the police.
“Just a general impression, on the explanatory note that has been given by the different senators who sponsored this, the main frame is that parang may kasalanan agad ang pulis (it seems like the police is at fault),” Gamboa told the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, which is chaired by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
“I hope when crafting the body worn camera law, it would not premise that there’s EJKs in the Philippines. There are unsolved killings…Because when we craft law, it should pertain to or it should apply to generations onwards,” he said.
In crafting the law, Gamboa asked Senate panel to presume the work of the PNP as regular.
“Kung pwede, we presume muna that the work of government, especially the PNP is regular. Kasi pag, ang premise Sir e masama kami, the law will be crafted in such a way that it’s too strict, there might be too much limitation and it might affect the operational efficiency of the PNP,” he added.
(If we can, we should just first presume that the work of the government especially of the PNP is regular. Because if the premise that the police is bad, the law will be crafted in such a way that it’s too strict, there might be too much limitation and it might affect the operational efficiency of the PNP).
Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, took note of the concern raised by the Gamboa.
“Taken yung point mo. But di pa rin talaga natin maalis-alis kaya ito, nag-crop up itong requirement na ito dahil nga sa mga reklamo ng mga allegedly EJK (extra judicial killing) kuno. So kinakailangan talaga natin itong gawin,” he said, referring on the requirement regulation of body cameras.
(Point noted. But we cannot get rid of it since the reason this cropped up is because of complaints on alleged EJKs. So we really need to do this).
“But anyway, we will maintain na dapat ganun. Na hindi ang initial impression is that makasalanan kagad ang pulis. We will maintain that,” he added.
(But anyway, we will maintain that it should be that way. That the initial impression should not be that the police are at fault. We will maintain that).
The clamor for the police force to equip officers with body cameras followed the killing in 2017 of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos by police officers in an alleged operation in Caloocan City.
Police had claimed that Delos Santos was killed when he resisted arrest, but security footage in the area where he was picked up showed policemen dragging him to the place where he was executed.
Recent data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that 5,552 were killed in the Duterte administration’s drug war.
But other groups estimate that a higher death toll.
The Drug Archive, the academe-led database prepared by Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines, counted the number of slain drug suspects at 7,000, as of April 2019.
Meanwhile, human rights groups claimed that the death toll is more than 20,000, including the deaths under investigation that
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.