DILG’s Abalos says PNP still needs 5,000 body cameras
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) still lacks around 5,000 units of body cameras to comply with a Supreme Court (SC) order requiring police officers to wear such gear while serving warrants.
Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. informed Senator Risa Hontiveros about the equipment shortage as he faced the Commission on Appointments for the approval of his nomination as DILG chief on Wednesday.
“According to our (PNP) Chief, we have a lack, around 5,000 body cameras ang kulang namin (are what we still need),” he said.
When further asked by Hontiveros whether the PNP will ask for more budget to acquire the needed body cameras for 2023, Abalos answered in the affirmative – but that it will be done in phases instead considering the huge amount of money required to purchase the units.
“Mabigat po ito eh. Siguro in phases na lang (This is heavy so maybe we will just do it in phases), Ma’am,” said Abalos.
In June 2021, the SC required police officers to use body-worn cameras while serving search and arrest warrants.
Its Administrative Matter 21-06-08-SC stated that failure of the law enforcers to comply would render the evidence seized inadmissible for the prosecution of the offense for which the search warrant was applied.
Specifically, the SC said law enforcers must have at least one body-worn camera, one alternative recording device, or a minimum of two devices during the execution of warrants.
Law enforcers, however, are allowed to file a motion before the court and ask permission that they be allowed to use an alternative device for justifiable reasons.
The PNP had said that it needed to purchase a total of 33,000 to 34,000 body cameras to cover the entire force.