Surigao del Norte Representative Robert “Ace” Barbers said Monday that the use of body cameras could have prevented the bloody misencounter between Quezon City cops and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents last week.
Under the proposed amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, particularly in Section 21, Barbers said law enforcers are required to wear body cameras during anti-illegal drug operations.
“This could have aborted any seeming illegal activity that were intended to be perpetrated by any personality against law enforcers or could have recorded all activities during the entire operation,” Barbers, chairperson of the Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said.
“Unfortunately, even as we have called for its use years ago, our pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears, whether intentional or otherwise. Now that we have included it in the law and passed it in the House, the Senate has yet to file a similar bill,” he added.
The Philippine National Police aims to start using body cameras during their operations by April.
The misencounter resulted in the death of two cops, two drug agents, and one PDEA informant.
Body cameras could have prevented QC ‘misencounter’ – Barbers
Both PNP and PDEA claimed that their operations were legitimate.
House Bill 7814 or An Act Strengthening Drug Prevention And Control, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 9165, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act Of 2002” was passed on second reading last week.
“If before, these personalities go scot-free, now these legal presumptions will put them on almost the same footing as the drug suspects themselves because of the presence of factual circumstances that will incriminate them and thus could make them liable under the amended law,” he said.
“There will be no place for them to hide now and their world will be much smaller if these amendments will be passed quickly,” the lawmaker added.
Meanwhile, the Barbers believes that Duterte’s war on drugs benefitted the country.
“The tons of drugs confiscated from 2016 up to the present are testament enough that we are winning the war on drugs,” Barbers said.
“The fact that we have avoided and prevented the slip of the country into a narco state is the most important victory of this war. Those who cannot see that have something blocking their eyes,” he added.