Senator wants gov’t probers to have instant access to CCTV files
Law enforcement authorities should have access within 24 hours to information from closed-circuit television (CCTV) recordings owned by private firms or individuals to speed up criminal investigations and prosecutions, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Saturday.
Gatchalian said the timely release of CCTV filed images and recordings to law enforcement agencies, like the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation, would help prevent the tampering of evidence and guarantee the effective prosecution of criminal cases against lawbreakers.
“The use of CCTV footage has become a game-changer in our pursuit of justice for victims of crimes. We must make sure that our law enforcers enjoy the maximum benefits of this technology, and use it to further improve our criminal investigation and prosecution processes,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
Because of this, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 988, which seeks to “impose the parameters and provide the guidelines in CCTV installation and access to its recordings to help ensure practice standards that are responsible and necessary to foster confidence in the use of the system.”
Under the proposed measure, only authorized persons will be allowed to use, view, copy or disclose images and recordings from CCTV footages, which will be used to “determine whether an offense has been committed against a person or property and to ascertain the identity of the perpetrator and the manner by which the crime was committed.”
The senator said CCTV access should be granted even in the absence of court approval because “court proceedings on requests for access to CCTV footages take a long time.”
“If it is clear that a crime has been committed, the police and other persons in authority should have access to the tapes within 24 hours because in filing cases, time and evidence are of (the) essence,” Gatchalian explained.
The senator said that during his tenure as mayor of Valenzuela City, there were times investigators failed to successfully prosecute criminal cases because they failed to present sufficient evidence, such as CCTV images or recordings, which could have bolstered their cases. JPV