BODY CAMS

A proposal to mandate the use of body cameras by law enforcers during its operations gets fresh support after the killing of Kian delos Santos.

Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said, “The public and the police have been engaged in a “he said, she said” confrontation, with both sides firm on their respective positions. The deaths of minors due to these police operations are certainly not to be taken for granted, with victims as young as 5 years old and others known by family and neighbors as not being involved in drugs. 

To avoid this kind of tug of war for truth between the public and the police, to prove beyond doubt how police operations are conducted and to help prevent or prosecute such abuse or extra judicial killings, a means to document police action is necessary. “

Biazon explained, House Bill No. 2741 known as the BodyCam Bill also has provisions to protect the privacy of persons, preservation of evidence and basic parameters of the use of the video recording devices.

lawmakers reiterated their call for an impartial investigation. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman maintained that  The adherence to the rule of law of President Rodrigo Duterte or his partiality to the rule of the gun will be tested and confirmed by his decision to create or not an independent fact-finding commission of retired jurists to investigate the unmitigated incidents of violence and deaths connected with the administration’s war on illegal drugs. “The President’s refusal or failure to form the fact-finding commission is a virtual admission of his approval of the summary killings with collateral damage even to innocent children and his order to shoot human rights advocates who protest the extra-judicial executions of drug suspects.”

For Lagman,  Legislative inquiries on the killings without due process and in violation of human rights have not prevented the mounting toll of dead victims. Not even memorial rallies for the hapless victims could temporize the killings orchestrated by the police.”

Lagman cites precedents. Former President Gloria Arroyo formed the Feliciano Commission to look into the grievances against her by the Oakwood mutineers in the Magdalo group  and she also formed the Melo Commission to investigate the reported political killings and summary executions during her term.”President Duterte should do no less by creating an independent commission to determine the causes, motives and possible rewards for the extrajudicial killings and recommend the prosecution of the culprits.”

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano added, “ i was one of those invited during the hearings yung tanong na merong bang mangyari it came up with a report detailing the causes of our protests. i support the call…as long as it is independent kasi mamaya gagamitin lang yan to cover the tracks of the president”

While Lagman has given up on congressional investigatons, Ifugao Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat has said that the time has come for the House of Representatives to show the Filipino people, whom the members have sworn to serve, that it stands for the rule of law and the right of every human being to be deemed innocent until proven guilty.”Will the House of Representatives perform its duty to the people and investigate these killings? Or will it turn its back on the people, all for the sake of political expediency at the expense of doing what is right and just? The test has come,” said Baguilat.

Baguilat has filed his third resolution seeking a full and swift investigation of the surge of extrajudicial killings and/or summary executions of suspected violators of laws on illegal drugs. “mas dumami na yung nagsasalita…sa drug war…di balanse yung diskurso dito sa kongreso. right now were tackling the budget and yung PNP…ang laki ng hinihingi nila for tokhang operations. let’s conduct this inquiry para lang balanse. balansehin natin ang diskurso. the ball is in their hands.

Baguilat backed Biazon’s proposal for body cameras for law enforcers.

Baguilat however deplored that his resolutions, as well as similar resolutions from the Makabayan bloc have so far been ignored by the leadership to avoid a clash with the president. Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos  Zarate said, “with the recent tragic developments in the war on drugs, we call on the house leadership to hasten the hearing on this issue as well.”

for its part, Kabataan Partylist mourns for 17-year-old Kian delos Santos and other victims of drug-related killings, and decries the impunity and heightening fascist offensives under the war on drugs of what it called the “US-Duterte fascist dictatorship.”