Eleazar seeks guidance from Supreme Court justices on use of body cam in police ops

Eleazar seeks guidance from Supreme Court justices on use of body cam in police ops
Police General Guillermo Eleazar went to the Supreme Court on the morning of July 2, 2021 and met with Supreme Court magistrates, led by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, to ask guidance on legalities concerning the use of body-worn cameras.
General Guillermo Eleazar Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Friday met with Supreme Court justices to discuss legal concerns on the use of body-worn cameras in their operations.

In a Facebook post, Philippine National Police chief Eleazar said he conferred with Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Rodil Zalameda, Samuel Gaerlan and Jhosep Lopez to ask guidance on the legalities of the conduct of police operations, particularly the use of body worn-cameras.

Photos shared by Eleazar on his Facebook page showed Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang joining via videoconference.

The PNP chief also coordinated with Court Administrator Midas Marquez and SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka.

A high court, amid mounting pressure, issued a rare statement in March condemning attacks on the members of legal profession and announcing that they will promulgate rules on the use of body-worn cameras in police operations.

In months leading up to this, lawyers and progressive groups have been pressing the high court to be more proactive as more activists and community leaders were killed in police operations to search warrants in provinces across Calabarzon.

Gesmundo on June 11 assured that they are working on the guidelines for body-worn cameras, adding that its final version may be approved in July.

"And our colleagues have submitted their respective inputs. Hopefully and I’m optimistic that maybe two or three deliberations, we will come up with the final version. The Court is very clear in our responsibility that they have to comply with what the Constitution and the Rules of Court should provide," Gesmundo said then.

The PNP in June launched its body-worn camera system at Camp Crame. The 2,696 body cameras, worth at least P288 million, were distributed to 171 police units in Metro Manila, including 38 police stations. Each unit received 16 body cameras.

Eleazar, in an earlier report, said they will use the body cameras in law enforcement operations, including the service of search and arrest warrants. Police officers will also use the gadgets during anti-drug operations, but the PNP chief clarified that cameras should not be worn during drug stings as it could expose undercover police officers.

Sanctions will also be imposed on police officers who would turn off their cameras without a valid reason.  — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from The STAR/Emmanuel Tupas





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