The Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives on Thursday sought a congressional inquiry into what it perceives as a delayed implementation of the Philippine National Police’s P334-million body camera project.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas, and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro filed House Resolution 1480 asking the PNP to account for the P334 million that was allocated under the 2018 General Appropriations Act intended for the purchase of body cameras to be used by the police.
“The use of body cameras was meant to ensure greater transparency in police anti-drug operations amid the increasing number of deaths under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs,” the group said in the resolution.
They added that the PNP planned to purchase at least 12,476 cameras by June 2018, but this was delayed due to alleged extortion.
“More than two years since the budget for the body cameras for police was approved, the PNP has yet to complete the procurement and distribution of the devices meant to increase police accountability and transparency,” the group said.
The lawmakers said video documentation was needed now more than ever following the shooting of Sonya and Frank Gregorio by Police Staff Sergeant Jonel Nuezca in December, as well as the recent killings of nine Tumandok indigenous people during simultaneous police and military operations in Capiz and Iloilo.
“Immediate use of the budget could potentially curb further police abuse and excesses against civilians. The continued delay in the implementation of body cameras used by police is a disservice to the people,” the group said.