Barbers on crafting protocols for body cam use: It's not rocket scienceBy ANNA FELICIA BAJO, GMA News
Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers on Tuesday questioned why the Philippine National Police (PNP) is not yet finished in crafting protocols for the use of body cameras, noting that it is not at all challenging.
According to Barbers, the PNP only needs to follow the best practices of some countries such as the United States, Australia, and some European countries regarding the use of body cameras in anti-criminality operations.
"Bakit may challenge? All they have to do is copy the best practices in the world on its use. What is so difficult and problematic in the implementation on the use of body cams by law enforcers here in the country? It's not rocket science and the most is it would just take days to orient the users on its worldwide accepted protocols," Barbers told reporters.
The body cameras were already distributed in police stations in Metro Manila, according to Directorate for Logistics director Major General Angelito Casimiro, even though the protocols are not yet finished.
Casimiro said the Directorate for Operations is still looking into privacy issues when presenting the videos of body cameras as evidence before the court.
For Barbers, "privacy should be the least of the concern of the law enforcers in running after criminals and violators of the law."
"Those that disturb peace and order in our community should not be accorded privacy as they too violate other people's privacy and safety," he said.
Barbers is pushing for the use of body cameras to abort illegal activities during police operations.
For Bayan Muna party-list Representative Ferdinand Gaite, the police are "intentionally delaying" the protocols so they can continue their alleged planting of evidence during operations.
"Wala pang protocols? Ganito lang, suotin ninyo na sa mga operasyon ninyo. I think they are intentionally delaying this so that they could continue with the modus operandi of planting evidence in their operations against activists, and other nefarious activities," Gaite said in a separate statement.
(There are still no protocols? It's simple, just wear them during your operations.)
"Noon pa nila sinasabi na ayaw nila at hindi nila kailangan ng body camera, 'God is our camera' pa daw. There really is refusal in the police bureaucracy to have their men wear cameras kaya tumatagal," he added.
(Since then, the PNP is saying that they don't need body cameras in their operations.)
Gaite said there is a need for the immediate passage of the bill in Congress on mandatory use of body cameras if the police will continue to delay the protocols.
Body cameras are meant to increase transparency in police operations amid allegations of police officers engaging in summary executions and planting of evidence.
The police force is also looking to ask for more funds to give body cameras to police stations outside the metro.—AOL/RSJ, GMA News