SC prioritizes adoption of rules on use of body cameras in police operations

Published May 10, 2021, 1:38 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo said the promulgation of rules on the use of body cameras by the police in the service of search and arrest warrants “is a top priority in our agenda.”

“We are working on it,” was also Gesmundo’s reply when asked about the rules.

Last April, the Supreme Court (SC) said the adoption of rules “is without prejudice to the Court’s deliberations on whether we can cover with our rules of procedure the conduct of buy-bust operations in the enforcement of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.”

Last Sunday, May 9, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it has started finalizing the protocol for the use of body cameras in police operations to avoid legal technicalities particularly in the prosecution of suspected criminals.

PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said they need to consult other government agencies and the SC in crafting the protocols that must be observed by the police in using the body cameras.

The use of body cameras had been discussed by the SC justices, led by Gesmundo, during the PNP’s virtual courtesy call on the new Chief Justice last April 22.

The issue on body cameras was one of the courses of action the SC adopted to address the threats and killings of lawyers in the country.

Several advocacy groups have also called on the SC to impose the use of body cameras in police operations.

The call was aired anew after nine activists died last March 7 in Southern Luzon provinces during the joint police and military operations in serving search warrants for persons with alleged links to communist terrorist groups.

 
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