MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has approved the guidelines on the use of body cameras in police operations with an aim to promote transparency and uphold the constitutional rights of individuals.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the guidelines will be issued once it has been signed by court justices.
The guidelines would take effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or newspapers of general circulation.
“The court en banc approved already the final draft but of course it will have to be printed in the gilbert, you know that. And its members would have to sign the final resolution. Hopefully, by Friday it will be signed and duly promulgated,” Gesmundo said.
High court justices recently met with PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar to discuss the rules on the use of body cameras when serving arrest, search, and seizure warrants.
In crafting the guidelines, Gesmundo said the court took into account the “delicate balancing act of ensuring an individual’s constitutional rights vis-à-vis arrest, search, and seizure.
“As far as the meeting with PNP is concerned, we clarified that we crafted the rule in such a way that there’s a balancing between the protection of individuals vis a vis constitutional rights and the rules will not hamper the operations of law enforcement agencies,” the chief magistrate said.
“We were both positive in our discussions, in fact, they themselves the PNP has promulgated its own rules on the use of body-worn cameras during their operations. So we are optimistic that something will definitely come out of it to address these current issues on law enforcement operations,” he added.
Gesmundo previously said that the Court will make an arrangement soonest with the Philippine Judicial Academy, the SC’s judicial education arm, to provide the training of all those involved in the implementation of these rules. He added that the PNP may also want to send participants to this training.
Eleazar earlier said that the use of body-worn cameras can guard against incidents of police abuse as the new system allows the PNP Command Center to monitor the actual police operations of all units nationwide.
The cameras are also tamper-proof and cannot be manually turned off by policemen wearing them.