‘Body cams give cops an edge’
PNP Spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac told reporters the national police command had protocols on what to do and what to avoid in the use of body cameras. Earlier, PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa said the police command could acquire at least 3,000 body cameras by 2020 if the post-qualification process of bidders was completed before the yearend. Vice President Leni Robredo, the newly-appointed co-chairman of the Interagency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs, had previously said body cameras were important in drug operations as they protected both law enforcement agents and the public. At the same time, Robredo said she would look into whether the government should invest in body cameras. Meanwhile, Robredo’s camp took a swipe at Cayetano for his tirades that she was leading the drug war “on the wrong mouth.” Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s lawyer-spokesperson, said Cayetano’s remarks were “very, very disappointing” and “uncalled for.” In The Source interview over CNN Philippines, Gutierrez said “we are grateful that the bulk of government agencies involved in the anti-drug campaign have expressed support. In fact, even the Palace stated yesterday (Monday) that they were going to support Vice President Leni Robredo, so I think that Speaker Cayetano should reconsider his position here especially given that the vice president hasn’t really been on the job that long.” The House Speaker, in an earlier CNN Philippines interview, said the Vice President started “on the wrong mouth” as the co-chairperson of ICAD, adding Robredo had dwelt more on “Operation All Talk” from the government’s Operation Tokhang. He previously said the success or failure of the Vice President as the anti-drug czar would be the success or failure of the country. READ: Rody dares Leni to take on drug czar role for 6 months Gutierrez said Cayetano’s statements were “contradicting,” asking him to “make up his mind.” He called on the Speaker to stop the attacks on the Vice President and to help in the campaign against the illegal drugs. “If the Speaker has nothing to do in helping the Vice President in her job, he must at least stay away from criticizing her,” he said. Meanwhile, Gutierrez reacted to a plan of Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers, House committee on dangerous drugs chairperson, to invite Robredo “soon” so she could lay down her plans in tweaking the government’s anti-drug drive. He said the invitation was “premature.” “If she’s called by the lower House, obviously she will go, but the only thing I can say... it will be premature to ask her barely a week into her job to give the full outline, the full comprehensive list of her plans,” he said during the CNN Philippines’ The Source interview. At the same time, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. expressed support to Robredo’s move to tap the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s help in beefing up the country’s fight against illegal drugs. READ: Leni turns to UN for ‘lessons’ “Thank you, Leni. I’ve been trying without success to get us engaged with Vienna’s UNODC which is focused on fighting drug trafficking and dealing, not coddling them like Geneva,” Locsin tweeted. “UNODC is currently headed by a Russian so we can trust it,” Locsin added. Yury Fedotov of the Russian Federation leads the UNODC as its executive director since 2010. Robredo met with UNODC officials on Monday. “We will give you an update [on the resolutions] after these meetings,” Robredo told reporters. Meanwhile, Locsin vowed to deny entry of foreign human rights advocate Phelim Kine, former deputy director for Asia of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, a strong critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, if he tried to come into the Philippines to “advise” Robredo on how to end the so-called “murderous” crackdown. Locsin poked fun at Kine, describing him as Robredo’s “retarded retinue.” Kine said that he was ready to come to the Philippines anytime to “help advise how to end this murderous ‘drug war’” following the Vice President’s appointment as co-chair of the ICAD.