Authorities want CCTV footage within 24 hours of crime

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2017 02:21 PM

Chief Supt. Manolo Ozaeta, head of the PNP's legal service, cites the importance of closed circuit television cameras in police investigations. Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Surveillance footage should be made available for investigation within 24 hours from the commission of a crime, police told a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Closed-circuit TV cameras have proven useful in investigations as shown in the death of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, who was seen on video being dragged by policemen shortly before he was gunned down last Aug. 16.

The footage is now key evidence in the murder and torture charges filed against the policemen before the justice department. Authorities claimed the teen was a drug courier.

"Two-way po kasi yun (It's two-way). Yung CCTV, it will either help the PNP to investigate or it will also pin down law enforcers who are doing the bad thing," Chief Supt. Manolo Ozaeta, head of the police legal service, told ABS-CBN News.

But in many cases, CCTV owners were not as cooperative, prompting investigators to seek a court order to get hold of the footage, a process that takes longer, he said.

"They would always give us the runaround (saying) they would consult with their legal (department)," Ferdinand Lavin, spokesman of the National Bureau of Investigation, told senators.

"By the time they have cooperated with us, hindi na po ganun ka-useful yung CCTV sa evidentiary matters namin (the CCTV is no longer as useful as evidence)."

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, vice chairman of the committee on public services, acknowledged the difficulty of law enforcers in securing CCTV footage especially from banks and big corporations.

"We are studying na pag nagkaroon ng incident, siguro within 24 hours, if the law enforcers can already get a copy," he told ABS-CBN News.

"Kasi pag tumagal pa, baka mamaya it will defeat its purpose na makuha agad because it will be essential in the investigation."

(If it takes longer, it will defeat the purpose of securing it as soon as possible because it will be essential in the investigation.)

Supt. Oliver Tanseco, chief of the police Highway Patrol Group, suggested a law that would also require establishment owners to install CCTVs covering public areas such parking lots. 

The law should also set a "standard" on the quality of videos to allow investigators to identify suspects more easily, he said.