National Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar says more than 600 officers will use cameras carried by the body to combat the suspects ’rights abuses.
Hundreds of police officers in the Philippines will begin wearing body cameras during operations, its police chief has announced, addressing the demands of human rights groups after thousands of murders and allegations of cover-ups.
The announcement came after public outrage over another deadly shooting of a woman by an off-duty police officer, which led to activists claiming police brutality has become systematic. under President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody war on drugs.
The murder of Lilibeth Valdez, 52, was recorded on her mobile phone and shared on social media prompting widespread condemnation.
Police officer Hensie Zinampan was seen in the video pulling Valdez’s hair before he shot him in the neck. Administrative and criminal charges have been brought against him.
The Human Rights Commission said it was investigating the murder.
“After a series of recent deaths and murders have been attributed to police officers, we urge the PNP to translate internal clean-up commitments into the actual reduction of human rights violations on the ground. One death is a mass.” , the agency said after the murder.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the latest shooting “reminded me disturbingly” of what it did the murder of a mother and her son in December 2020 by a police officer in the province of Tarlac.
“The case shows that police accountability can only be possible if the crime is captured on camera,” said Carlos Conde, a senior investigator with the HRW Asia Division.
“These incidents underscore the need for police to carry body cameras with appropriate protocols during operations. While the cameras alone do not stop police abuse, they provide some transparency during police operations.”
“Staging the crime”
Valdez was arrested in a ceremony Friday.
Philippine police have been accused of executing suspects and staging crime scenes and fabricating reports, encouraged by what activists say is a culture of impunity under Duterte. Police and the government reject these claims.
Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar said that to combat police abuse and dispel doubts about the legitimacy of the operations, more than 600 officers would use cameras carried by the body on Friday.
In a statement, Eleazar also said the cameras were a tribute “to police officers whose final sacrifices in the performance of duty were tainted by claims of extrajudicial killings, planting of evidence and other unfair allegations.”