A TECHNICAL Working Group (TWG) was ordered formed to study and incorporate the rules created by the Supreme Court to police guideline on the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs).
The Directorate for Operations and the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were tasked by PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar to come up with a recommendation on the composition of the TWG.
The TWG was also instructed to come up with modules that will be used in the training and seminar programs on all legal aspects regarding the use of BWCs to the police units which received the units last month.
The PNP launched the BWC system on June 4 to ensure transparency and legitimacy of law-enforcement operations. Initially, a total of 2,696 body cameras have been distributed to 171 police stations and offices.
On Friday, July 9, the Supreme Court en banc issued a resolution that includes the rules on the use of BWCs in the execution of warrants. The resolution was based on the request of assistance of the PNP from the High Court which was facilitated by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Eduardo Año and Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra.
The SC Rules include specific provisions from the issuance of the arrest and search warrants by the courts and in the service of the warrants by policemen.
The SC rules also issued guidelines on the preservation of the recordings from the BWCs, the chain of custody of the video recordings and legal procedures that must be observed in accessing the BWC recordings.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Philippine National Police, I extend my sincerest gratitude to the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo for supporting us in our effort to further professionalize our organization and to strengthen a human rights-based approach in the conduct of our operations,” said PGen. Eleazar.
“Sa panig ng inyong PNP, tinitiyak namin na ang panuntunan na pinaghirapan at pinaglaanan ng mahabang oras ng ating mga mahistrado ay isa sa mga magiging instrumento upang gawing normal ang konsepto ng transparency at accountability sa isip at sa gawa ng bawat miyembro ng inyong kapulisan,” he added.
The SC Rules on the Use of Body-Worn Cameras in the Execution of Warrants will take effect after its publication on the Official Gazette or two newspapers of general circulation.
“The rules on the use of the body-worn cameras crafted by the High Court is big help to erase doubts and speculations in the conduct of our operations, especially in our aggressive campaign against illegal drugs,” said PGen Eleazar.
Currently, the PNP still needs more or less 30,000 BWC units to cover the entire police stations and units of the national police force.
But the PNP leadership has already taken the initiative to obtain more BWC units from donations of the Local Government Units (LGUs) and private individuals and groups.
PGen. Eleazar said that the PNP is already coming up with information kit on the BWCs that would be given to the potential donors in order to ensure that those which would be donated are compatible with the system that was delivered to the PNP early this year.
The PNP’s top cop also revealed that there are also a number of local chief executives, private individuals and groups that have already signified their interest to donate BWCs to the PNP.