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SENATOR Win Gatchalian condemned the killing of 17-year-old Jerhod “Jemboy” Baltazar due to ‘mistaken identity’, something which according to the senator is unacceptable.
For the lawmaker, the police involved in the teenager’s death should be held accountable. Gatchalian also chastised the report of Navotas City Police chief Col. Allan Umipig of the Northern Police District: that the police did not use body-worn cameras during the operation that took Jemboy’s life.
Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 1057 or the Police On-Body Cam Act to empower members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and other law enforcement agencies to wear on-body cameras. Under such a bill, law enforcement agencies will be mandated to outline protocols and strict standards for the use of the camera, which will remain open and operational until the operation is over.
It can be recalled that PNP Memorandum Circular No. was issued in March 2018. 2018-099 that set standards and policies on the use of body-worn cameras.
“The purpose of wearing on-body cameras would be twofold: to protect the public from police abuse through heightened law enforcement accountability, and to provide protection to police officers from false allegations of abuse, ” said Gatchalian.
“It is unacceptable that an innocent child has been mistaken for a criminal, the police involved have not followed the rules. It is sad and infuriating that a life has been lost, a family has been orphaned, and a dream ended due to a surgical error the very thing we expect is defending us,” Gatchalian added.
The bill also states that the totality of operations must be recorded. Recording of these operations should also be continuous to prevent manipulation.
“We will continue to push to make it a law for police officers to wear body-worn cameras in their operations. This way, we can monitor if the operations of law enforcement officers are fair and just,” concluded Gatchalian.