Sen. Grace Poe on May 7 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.
“We are optimistic that the new PNP Chief will not be the fourth general to let this opportunity pass,” said Poe, adding that she’s hopeful Eleazar will push for the use of body and dash cameras to help make the nation’s police force more professional.
According to Poe, she is confident that the new PNP Chief will most likely take the initiative, saying he has a track record of being steadfast in his drive to improve the professionalism of the PNP.
She stressed Eleazar has been known to conduct inspections and make sure that his officers are performing to the best of their ability.
These cameras, she said, are an affordable technology embraced by police forces all over the world.
She emphasized that body cameras help in police operations as they store footage of crimes being committed, which could then lead to the easier prosecution and conviction of offenders
Four years after the funds for their purchase were included in the national budget, the first batch of 2,600 body cameras was delivered early this year following procurement hurdles that hounded three previous PNP chiefs.
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.
“The PNP Chief is new. The Chief Justice is new. So, let the issue of body cams be the start of a good relationship between these two pillar institutions,” Poe said, referring to the assumption to 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,” the Senator added.
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.”