New PNP chief urged to start rollout of police body cams

Published May 7, 2021, 2:24 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Grace Poe on Friday, May 7, appealed to newly-appointed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar to include in his mission orders the use of body-worn cameras in police operations.

Philippine National Police (Official Gazette/MANILA BULLETIN File Photo)

Poe, in a statement, said she is confident that Eleazar “will most likely take the initiative,” citing the latter’s “track record of being steadfast in his drive to improve the professionalism of the PNP.”

“PNP Chief Eleazar has been known to conduct inspections and make sure that his officers are performing to the best of their ability. I’m hopeful that the new Chief will push for the use of body and dash cameras to help make our police force more professional in the field,” she said.

The senator added that this would also be in compliance with the Supreme Court’s (SC) plan to require the use of body cameras by police when serving search and arrest warrants.

“Bago ang PNP Chief. Bago rin ang Chief Justice (There is a new PNP chief. There is a new Chief Justice). So let the issue of body cams be the start of a good relationship between these two pillar institutions,” Poe said, referring to the assumption to office of SC Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo last April 5.

Although the high court has yet to issue a resolution promulgating the rules for the matter, Poe said the PNP “on its own should have long adopted and embraced the benefits of body cameras”.

Police forces in other countries have been using the “affordable technology”, anyway, she noted.

Poe lamented that four years after the funds for their purchase were included in the national budget, the first batch of body cameras—numbering 2,600—was delivered early this year following procurement issues that hounded previous PNP chiefs.

“Kung ‘yong mga private cars ng mga kaibigan natin na pulis may mga dash cams, bakit ‘yong official patrol cars na ginagamit nila ay wala (If personal cars of policemen have dash cams, why can’t they install some on official patrol cars)?” she pointed out.

“I’m sure the new chief is more than capable of providing these cameras for our police force in an effort to promote justice and transparency in the PNP,” she said.

The PNP earlier said it has yet to finalize the protocols for the use of body cameras as it is still studying privacy issues that may be raised when the footages are used as court evidence.

Poe said body cameras will aid in police operations as they store footage of crimes being committed, which could then lead to the easier prosecution and conviction of offenders.