Senator Win Gatchalian condemned in the harshest terms the killing of 17-year-old Jerhod “Jemboy” Baltazar, saying that the Navotas teen’s death because of mistaken identity is reprehensible and that erring officials should be dealt with the full force of the law.
Gatchalian also slammed a revelation from Navotas City Police chief Col. Allan Umipig of the Northern Police District that the policemen involved in the incident did not use body-worn cameras during the operations that took ‘Jemboy’s’ life.
Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 1057 or the Police On-Body Cam Act provides that during anti-illegal drug and criminality police operations, members of the PNP, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and other law enforcement agents will be mandated to use on-body cameras. Law enforcement agencies shall also be mandated to establish protocols and stringent standards for the responsible and effective use of these cameras, which shall be turned on and left running until the operations have been completed. Philippine National Police (PNP) Memorandum Circular No. 2018-099 was issued in March 2018 setting the operational guidelines and policies on the use of body-worn cameras.
“The function of the on-body camera will be two-pronged: protect the public against police misconduct by improving law enforcement accountability and help protect our policemen from false and uncorroborated accusations of abuse,” Gatchalian said.
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap na napagkamalan na ngang kriminal ang isang inosenteng bata, hindi pa sumunod sa panuntunan ang mga sangkot na pulis. Nakakalungkot at nakakagalit na may isang buhay ang nawala, may pamilyang naulila, at may pangarap na nagwakas dahil sa pagkakamali sa operasyon ng mismong inaasahan nating nagtatanggol sa atin,” he added.
The proposed measure further provides that on-body cameras shall record in full all activities incidental to the conduct of the operation. The recordings of these events shall be continuous to ensure that they cannot be manipulated.
“Patuloy nating isusulong na maging batas ang pagsusuot ng mga pulis ng body-worn cameras sa kanilang mga operasyon. Sa ganitong paraan, mababantayan natin kung patas at makatarungan ang mga operasyon ng mga alagad ng batas,” he ended.