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RIZAL REP LAUDS SC ISSUED BODY-CAM GUIDELINES

A win for the people and for the police.

This was stressed by Rizal 2nd District Rep. Fidel Nograles as he hailed the Supreme Court for issuing the guidelines on the use of body-worn cameras in serving search and arrest warrants, and explained how these would help ensure that police operations are above board and conducted in accordance with the law.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa Supreme Court dahil magagabayan ng guidelines na ito ang mga operasyon ng ating kapulisan. These will go a long way in reassuring our people,” Nograles said.

“These body cams will ensure compliance with protocols and procedures that govern searches and raids, and this in turn will aid our prosecutors in securing convictions when these are deserved.”

The House Justice Committee Vice Chair said that he looks forward to the Philippine National Police incorporating the guidelines into its operations.

Issued by the High Court on June 29, 2021, A.M. No. 21-06-08-SC enumerates the approved rules for the use of body cams that shall cover “all applications, issuances, and executions of arrest and search warrants under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,” as well as “warrantless arrests.”

The rules require law enforcers to wear at least one body camera and one alternative recording device while serving warrants. In cases wherein body cams are unavailable, implementing officers shall file an ex parte motion before the court requesting authority to use alternative recording devices for justifiable reasons.

The resolution said that body cam recordings “can deter the excessive use of force by law enforcement officers in the execution of warrants, and can aid trial courts in resolving issues that may become relevant in the criminal case, such as conflicting eyewitness accounts.”

Nograles, a Harvard-trained lawyer, said the use of body cams are needed to ensure that police operations are above board and ultimately to restore the public’s trust in law enforcement.

The PNP announced in June that it had procured 2,696 body cameras worth at least P288 million.

“Gaya nga ng nasabi ng SC, magiging deterrent ang mga body cam sa paggamit ng labis na dahas, at malaki ang maitutulong sa pagtukoy ng katotohanan sa kabila ng hindi magkatugmang mga pahayag,” he said.

“Just as important,” said Nograles, “these body cams will ensure compliance with protocols and procedures that govern searches and raids, and this in turn will aid our prosecutors in securing convictions when these are deserved.”

“On the flip side, if the suspects are not committing any wrongdoing, these cameras are tools that can help prove their innocence.”

According to Nograles, contrary to perceptions that these will only protect the rights of those suspected of crimes, “even the rights of PNP officers will be protected by these body cams as these can be used to assess accusations hurled against them.”

“Lahat po panalo dito, lahat po protektado dito.”

The neophyte lawmaker had earlier urged the PNP to hasten its rollout of body-worn cameras.

The PNP announced in June that it had procured 2,696 body cameras worth at least P288 million.

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