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Eleazar: Clean up precincts or get relieved

Police commanders will be held liable if their stations will be found untidy during inspections, the country’s top cop said yesterday.

In his first press briefing as chief of the Philippine National Police, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said he has instructed the Internal Affairs Service to focus on the cleanliness in all PNP precincts, stations, and offices under the “Intensified Cleanliness Policy”.

“I told our IAS Inspector General, Alfegar Triambulo, to give focus on the cleanliness of the offices and if needed, recommend those PCP commanders who should be relieved,” Eleazar said.

He added that keeping police precincts and stations clean and presentable will help the institution gain the public’s trust and respect.

“Actually, our IAS conducts regular inspections everyday and I saw in their report that they have already inspected at least 1,000 police units,” he added.

Eleazar added that he will also conduct surprise inspections of police stations to ensure that their cleanliness and orderliness will be observed.

“Yes, I will do that. Expect that all other commanders from the regional directors down to the chiefs of police will do their own inspection. We will have our time. I am giving them the chance to clean up and as I have heard from other officers, there also already those who are starting renovations and cleaning,” Eleazar said.

Eleazar first introduced the ICP when he was chief of the National Capital Region Police Office.

The ICP aims to correct minor problems in the service to prevent them from getting worse.

BODY CAMERAS

House Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera, meanwhile, urged Eleazar yesterday to start the rollout of body-worn cameras in police operations.

Herrera said the required use of body cams in Philippine law enforcement is long overdue as it would help provide Filipinos with ample, appropriate, and technology-updated law enforcement and protection of civil liberties.

“Appropriate body cam use in law enforcement can protect the innocent and law enforcers and help mete out justice on those who choose to violate the law with impunity,” she said.

Herrera noted that public trust in the police has been in “distress” lately because of the continuing involvement of some police officers in brutality towards quarantine violators, red-baiting of community pantry organizers, misencounter with fellow law enforcers, and planting evidence during raids, among others.

She said police body cameras will help restore trust and confidence in law enforcement.

“Mandatory wearing of body cameras by police officers can somehow regain the trust of Filipinos in the police force,” she said.

In March, the Supreme Court made back-to-back announcements requiring police body cameras to record the serving of court warrants.

Last week, Directorate for Logistics director, Maj. Gen. Angelito Casimiro, said the PNP Directorate for Operations is still looking into privacy issues when presenting the videos of body cameras as evidence in court.

Some lawmakers questioned why the PNP has yet to finish crafting protocols for the use of body cameras.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said it is a matter of copying best practices in the world on its use.

“What is so difficult and problematic in the implementation on the use of body cams by law enforcers here in the country? It’s not rocket science and the most is it would just take days to orient the users on its worldwide accepted protocols,” Barbers said.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite accused the PNP of “intentionally delaying” the protocols.

“I think they are intentionally delaying this so that they could continue with the modus operandi of planting evidence in their operations against activists, and other nefarious activities,” Gaite said.

The Palace earlier said the use of body cams would help “minimize doubts over the circumstances when someone is killed” in police operations.*PNA

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