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Duterte backs body cameras for policemen

By GENALYN KABILING

With the country becoming a “narco-state,” President Duterte is amenable to proposals to let policemen wear body cameras during operations as long as such move does not violate their privacy.

The President said funds taken by the House of Representatives from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) could even be diverted to the police force instead for this purpose.

“Kung ayaw ninyong isauli ‘yung pera diyan sa CHR, why don’t you invest the money para to buy equipment for the police na lahat ng police sa Pilipinas – it’s about P600 million and and it can buy it all – na lagyan sila lahat, 24 hours a day ng camera dito,” the President said in his remarks in Davao City last Saturday.

Duterte said the money could buy “state-of-art” body cameras as big as “buttons” that will be worn by the policemen while at work.

“Just don’t invade the privacy of the soldiers and the policemen. But you are free to embed and place cameras on the body of the law enforcers whenever they go out to operate because the Philippines is a narco-state already,” he said.

He said mayors and other officials have been clinging to power for decades because they have “killed their enemies” so there are “no elections.” He lamented that policemen are also apparently killed if they refuse to follow the orders of abusive officials.

The Lower House earlier voted a P1,000 budget for the CHR, instead of the more than P600 million proposed for next year’s operations. The decision was reached by lawmakers amid criticisms over the CHR’s alleged bias towards the rights of criminals instead of their victims.

Some lawmakers have proposed the use of body cameras for policemen for transparency and accountability in executing the government’s war on drugs.

The proposal came after some policemen have been accused of summary killings and other rights violations in their anti-drug operations.

The President, meantime, renewed his resolve to sustain a relentless war on illegal drugs, saying there will be “no compromise” in this campaign.

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