MANILA, Philippines — The use of body-worn cameras (BWC) or alternative recording devices in police operations is now mandatory as the Supreme Court’s rules on its use take effect, Philippine National Police chief General Guillermo Eleazar said Tuesday.
In a statement, Eleazar said the PNP Directorate for Operations has already issued on August 2 a memorandum containing general protocols for the use of the BWCs in the execution of search and arrest warrants as well as warrantless arrests.
The memorandum was addressed to all police regional office directors and national operational support unit directors.
“Ngayong epektibo na ang mga alituntunin na inilabas ng ating Korte Suprema tungkol sa paggamit ng body-worn cameras, agad naglabas ng kautusan ang inyong PNP ng Memorandum Order sa lahat ng ating commanders na sumunod sa mga patakarang ito,” Eleazar said.
The PNP chief said that the memorandum specifies that the gadgets should never be turned off at any time while the execution of a search and arrest warrant or a warrantless arrest is going on.
In cases of valid warrantless arrests, Eleazar said the devices will be used as far as it is practicable.
“The memorandum also requires police operatives to, upon return of warrant, submit a copy of the video to the court along with an affidavit attesting to the facts and authenticity of the recording,” he said.
“Nakasaad din dito na kailangang magpaliwanag sa korte ng mga operatiba sakaling hindi nila sundin ang requirement na paggamit ng BWC o ARD sa kanilang operasyon,” he added.
The PNP chief assured that the guidelines on the use of the body-worn cameras will soon be disseminated to all police offices and units so all police personnel will be guided accordingly on the proper utilization of the devices.
“Hindi sapat ang aming body-worn cameras but in the spirit of transparency and accountability, I trust that our commanders will find ways to comply with the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the use of body-worn cameras,” Eleazar said.