Senator Grace Poe urged newly appointed Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar to include in his “first mission orders” the PNP’s compliance with the Supreme Court order for police officers to wear body cameras when serving arrest and search warrants.
Poe explained she is confident that the new PNP Chief will most likely take the initiative, stating that he has a 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.”
“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,” the veteran legislator said.
The seasoned lawmaker further explained that these cameras are an affordable technology embraced by police forces all over the world.
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 hurdles that hounded three previous PNP chiefs.
“We are optimistic that the new PNP Chief will not be the fourth General to let this opportunity pass,” the lady senator said.
As the head of an agency with a strong social media presence and who livestreams their activities, Eleazar can direct the quick resolution of “privacy and operational” questions, which have blocked the use of body cams in police operations.
In March, the Supreme Court made back-to-back announcements requiring police body cameras to record the serving of court warrants.
“Let the issue of body cams be the start of a good relationship.”
“Bago ang PNP Chief. Bago rin ang Chief Justice. So, let the issue of body cams be the start of a good relationship between these two pillar institutions,” she said, referring to the assumption of office of Alexander Gesmundo as Chief Justice on April 5.
But even without the High Court statement that it would soon promulgate rules on the mandatory use of body cameras by agents of the law serving court-issued orders, the PNP “on its own should have long adopted and embraced the benefits of body cameras,” Poe added.
“Kung ‘yung mga private cars ng mga kaibigan natin na pulis may mga dash cams, bakit ‘yung official patrol cars na ginagamit nila ay wala?” she asked.
Poe has high hopes for the new chief saying if the PNP was able to easily buy police choppers from the 2017 national budget allocation for new equipment, “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 emphasized that body cameras aid in police operations as they store footage of crimes being committed, which could then lead to the easier prosecution and conviction of offenders.