House probe sought on delayed police body camera project
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc is seeking an investigation on the delays in the implementation of Philippine National Police’s (PNP) body camera project amid calls for transparency during police operations.
Under House Resolution No. 1480, the Makabayan bloc called for an investigation on the delay in the “purchase and use” of the police body cameras, pointing out that P334 million was allocated for such under the 2018 national budget.
The Makabayan bloc is composed of Bayan Muna Reps. Eufemia Cullamat, Carlos Zarate, and Ferdinand Gaite; Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro and Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago.
“More than two years since the budget for the body cameras for police was approved, the PNP has yet to complete the procurement and distribution of the devices meant to increase police accountability and transparency,” the lawmakers said in the resolution.
“Immediate use of the budget could potentially curb further police abuse and excuses against civilians. The continued delay in the implementation of body cameras used by police is a disservice to the people,” they added.
The lawmakers said the need for greater transparency in police operations and the call for use of body cameras by the police was once again highlighted following the “recent cases of police brutality and mass killings” in the country.
One of the incidents cited by the lawmakers was the case of Sonya and Frank Gregorio, a mother and son who were shot to death by their neighbor, Police Staff Sergeant Jonel Nuezca in Tarlac in December 2020.
“Witnesses caught on video Police Sgt. Nuezca shooting the mother and son in the head point-blank, firing twice on each victim. Had it not been for the video evidence of the killing, citizens argue that the police might have used the ‘nanlaban’ (fighting back) defense, commonly used by cops to justify the killing of drug suspects in anti-illegal drug operations,” the lawmakers said.
INQUIRER.net has reached out to the PNP for comment but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.
In April 2020, then PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said there is a delay in the delivery of body cameras due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In December 2020, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana, spokesperson for the PNP, said in an online briefing that the procurement of body cameras was underway and that the equipment would be distributed to police agents, once available.
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