Senator wants body cameras for drug war accountability

MANILA -- A Senator on Monday said that he is planning to file a bill requiring policemen to wear body cameras to collect video footage of all drug raids implemented following the suspected murder of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos during anti-illegal drug operations.

"Footage collected from police body cams would provide concrete evidence to hold police scalawags administratively and criminally liable for violating their oath to serve and protect the people," Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement.

Gatchalian said that recording video evidence of all anti-illegal drugs operations would be "a powerful tool" to ensure transparency and accountability in the execution of the government's drug war.

His proposed bill would require that all law enforcement personnel authorized to conduct anti-illegal drugs operations be equipped with body cameras which must be set to record footage during the entire operation -- from deployment to the target until the conclusion of the mission.

The senator further said that law enforcement personnel who engage in a raid, buy-bust operation, or other anti-illegal drugs operation without recording the required video footage will be summarily suspended pending investigation.

Moreover, the erring policeman will be automatically dismissed from service and recommended for criminal prosecution should the unrecorded operation result in the injury or death of a drug personality or any other individual.

Gatchalian, meanwhile, urged Philippine National Police (PNP) Director-General Ronald Dela Rosa to support the measure as it could help restore public confidence in the integrity of the PNP.

"The video footage will separate the decent, law-abiding policemen from the scalawags. Policemen wrongly accused of abuses during police raids will be able to use the video evidence to clear their names, while the scalawags will be thrown in jail for their crimes," he said.

PNP claimed that Delos Santos fired at them prompting the police to retaliate. However, a CCTV footage from the barangay showed two policemen dragging the victim to the place where he was found dead.

Source: Philippine News Agency