Statement on mandatory use of body cameras during drug busts

Even without the enactment of a law, our police force can and should make it a requirement to have those involved in anti-drug operations use body-worn cameras since the Supreme Court already promulgated a ruling in 2021 necessitating law enforcement agents to have these recording devices when serving arrest and search warrants. 

Kung sa mga simpleng pag-serve ng search at arrest warrants ay requirement na ito, mas higit na dapat ginagawa sa mga anti-drug operations. The SC, in its administrative ruling even stated that failure to comply with the regulation would make the evidence seized during an operation inadmissible to the court.

PDEA agents in Western Visayas have been compliant with the SC circular. The problem lies, I believe, in the lack of funds for the procurement of these devices. Out of the 260,000-strong police force, only 3,000 has body-worn cameras. Congress can allocate funds in tranches for the acquisition of these units.

But with or without the augmentation of the yearly budget of the PNP and the PDEA, we hold our law enforcers accountable for their actions and misdeeds. Kung mayroon man na lihis ang gawain sa kanilang hanay, the leadership of these agencies are well-within their authority to cleanse and rid their ranks of so-called scalawags.