Where’s the Philippine National Police (PNP) body cameras?
This was the question raised by Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo as he supported calls by members of the Makabayan bloc for an investigation in the House of Representatives to determine the reason for the delay in implementation of the PNP’s P334-million body camera project.
In filing for House Resolution No. 1480, Bayan Muna Party-list Representatives 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, is “Urging the House of Representatives to investigate, in aid of legislation, the delay in the purchase and use of body cameras worth P334 million in the Philippine National Police.”
During his online program, “Counterpoint,” Panelo said members of the national police need to have body cameras as an aid in providing undeniable evidence to hold scalawags accountable for wrongdoings and help the police organization disprove false accusations.
Panelo said body cameras can double as a deterrent for irregularities aside from protecting the bearer from wrongful accusations.
“Eto sasamahan ko rin ‘yung mga binabanatan natin, Makabayan. Sabi ng Makabayan, ano ba nangyari dun sa pagpapatupad ng P334 milllion body camera project ng PNP, General Debold (Sinas)? Oh ito, kung maaari lang pakisagot naman ito kasi dalawang taon na nakakilipas, di ho ba?,” Panelo said in his program.
“Kasi ‘yung body camera kaya ‘yan pinananawagan na magkaroon ang pulis kasi nga ‘pag may namamatay sa police operation maraming nagdududa kung ‘yung nabaril dun eh pinatay na talagang sadya ‘yun or you’re defending yourself from certain death. Kaya dapat may body camera kasi sa Amerika ganyan eh. Eh bakit daw hanggang ngayon wala pa? ‘Yun ang panawagan ng Makabayan, so I will join you there, tama ka dyan,” he added.
Panelo specifically asked PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas, to explain thoroughly why there has been a delay in the implementation of the program despite the release of the budget to purchase 12,476 cameras.
“Ano na nga pala ang nangyari dun General Debold? Kayo ang PNP chief ngayon. Can you explain to us what happened to that? Eh meron naman tayong budget, na release na ba ‘yung budget? I’m sure na-release na yung budget. Ano na nangyari sa pagbili nating camera? Kasi mahalaga ‘yun otherwise meron talagang police operation na magkakaron ng abuso na hindi makikita o mailalabas,” he said.
PNP spokesperson Brigadier Gen. Ildebrandi Usana recently said the purchase of body cameras is still in the “process.”
Calls for the need for body cameras among policemen arose after the murder of teenager Kian delos Santos during a supposed anti-drug operation in Caloocan City in 2017.
Following the recent gruesome murder of an unarmed mother and her son in Paniqui, Tarlac in December last year whose suspect was PSMS Jonel Nuezca, calls for body cameras were once again renewed as well as reforms in police procedures.