Flashlights, not disinfectants
THAT DOES IT! - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - November 13, 2019 - 12:00am

I have long been in favor of the PNP using body cams in the course of their law enforcing duties and operations. Body cams protect both the people as well as the police by ensuring everything is done following the law and due process. Even in the unfortunate event of a firefight between criminal elements and the police, body cams are there to record the incidents and may serve as evidence. It gives protection to the people as well as the police. Vice President Leni Robredo who now sits as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) wants to implement the use of body cams which was proposed over a year ago. With the enormous budget of the PNP, surely the procurement of these gadgets can be easily facilitated. But unsurprisingly, three police officers saw an opportunity to enrich themselves with the people's money.

PNP OIC Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa has ordered filing criminal and administrative cases against three police majors, all part of the PNP Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) which ironically, Gamboa chairs. P5 million pesos was allegedly extorted from a bidder for the P344-million body cam procurement contract. Body cams are supposed to be used as a deterrent to police corruption and abusive behavior, but then we have these three characters.

The PNP and PDEA have long approved the use of body cams. Could it be that the reason for the delay is because of these three TWG members are milking bidders? Not farfetched, now that they have been exposed. Five million pesos may not have been enough as greed set in and the prospect of easy money in the millions made available to them. Hopefully, the procurement of the body cam would now move forward.

House Speaker Alan Cayetano has downplayed the use of body cams even if the PNP has yet to receive and use them. Robredo was also criticized for being "all talk" as she sat down with the ICAD. Cayetano said the body cams may be a hindrance to the proper operation of the police. But there are body cams that are not immediately visible or noticeable because of their size. How could that be a hindrance? If the police have nothing to hide along with the presumption of regularity in their operations, then pushers and addicts that fight back would be caught on video. These, in turn, may be used as evidence and for the defense of the officers. CCTVs in malls, hospitals, condominiums, and car dashboards are no different. I wonder why the police turn away from CCTVs when operating in the area. The explanation that they may be identified is unacceptable. A simple cap already conceals them from CCTVs similar to what criminals do.

I would say that the use of body cams be implemented the soonest, and after a prescribed time evaluated as to their effectiveness before commenting on their supposed ineffectiveness. I read an article on the internet written by an adjunct professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology in Washington, D.C. who stated that body cams are more "flashlights" than "disinfectants." Good point. A powerful light does need to shine on police operations.

BODY CAM PNP
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