Jun 11, 2021 @ 14:21

SC to tackle rule on body cams for law enforcers when it resume session this month

The proposed rule requiring law enforcers to equip body cameras during service of warrants maybe tackled by the Supreme Court when it resume session on June 15, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo on Friday said.

“In relation to the statement of the Court last March 23, 2021, Justice (Marvic) Leonen submitted to the Court en banc a working draft on the revisions intended and specifically address the issue on issuance of arrest warrant and search warrant. We’re working on it. In relation to that we will be amending the rules on criminal procedures with respect to those provisions.”

“And one of the things we are working on is the adoption of the rule on use of body-worn camera. The proposed rule is to be taken up as soon we resume session on June 15. And our colleagues have submitted their respective inputs. Hopefully and I’m optimistic that maybe after 2 or 3 deliberations we will come up with the final version,” Gesmundo said.

Last March, some 139 lawyers, law deans, and legal luminaries asked the SC to institute reforms in the issuance and service of search warrants, saying “court processes have possibly been resorted to as false legal cover to attack activists and dissenters in the country. ”

Requirement that searches should be undertaken during office hours and not in the middle of the night and the deployment of body cameras or video recording devices to record the entire police operation, from initial entry to its conclusion, they said.

Also, Kapatid, support group for families and friends of political prisoners has urged then chief justice Diosdado Peralta to review guidelines involving the remote issuance of search warrants which was allegedly being weaponized against activists like “planting” evidence for trumped-up charges.

Search warrants recently hogged the headlines following accusations of police and military abuses allegedly committed against activists.

Newly-appointed Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar recently said they are waiting for the SC to approve the protocols that will guide law enforcers on the proper use of body-worn cameras in their operations.

Eleazar said the use of body cameras will not only improve police operations but will protect both the law enforcers and the people, particularly the target of the search warrant.

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