Senator Grace Poe is proposing that police operatives wear body cameras in their operations amid public outrage over a spate of killings, including those of minors, in the administration’s war against illegal drugs.
“Yung sinasabi ninyong mas importante ang baril kesa sa body cam–ito’y magpoprotekta lang din sa ating mga pulis. Kasi ngayon, sasabihin ‘hindi naman nanlaban,’ e kung talagang nanlaban? At least, mayroon kayong pruweba sa totoong pangyayari,” Poe said in putting forward her proposal during the inquiry of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs on the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos.
The legislator, the vice-chairperson of the committee, said a policy requiring body-worn cameras should be put in place so that those who are conducting appropriate investigations or review of cases have indisputable evidence how the operations are carried out and the reasonable police responses to alleged resistance to arrests.
“We don’t want to discourage a legitimate operation that follows proper protocols. Kapag ganito, marami rin nang-aabuso, ang kwento, General, yung iba kasi gustong patahimikin dahil kasabwat din ang mga pulis, kaya ang body cam, makakatulong,” the lawmaker said, addressing Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director-General Bato Dela Rosa.
The PNP Chief, in response to the senator’s proposal, said: “I would like to stress that we agree with the proposal on body cam because it would also be beneficial on our part, as you’ve said, whenever there are operations we can justify our actions based on the recordings coming from the body cam.”
The PNP came under fire after the Aug. 16 killing of Delos Santos, a Grade 11 student, who was accused by the police of being a drug courier, a charge which the minor’s family and friends vehemently denied.
Poe described the killing as a “tragedy,” as she called for a speedy investigation of Kian’s case and 30 others aged 18 years old and below killed in either police operations or vigilante-style killings.
“Isang trahedya ang nangyari kay Kian, pero 31 mga bata na rin ang nadamay dito. Mga walang kasalanan na nadamay lamang. Nais rin nating itanong ang mga nangyari sa kaso nila,” she said.
Footage of the closed-circuit television in the area showed that a boy, later confirmed by the police as Delos Santos, was being dragged by policemen to the area where he was shot. Delos Santos also tested negative for gunpowder burns. Police earlier claimed the boy pulled out a gun and opened fire.