Robredo on anti-drug operations: Body cams on police ‘indispensable’

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2019 06:50 PM

In this 2018 photo, PDEA chief Aaron Aquino inspects body cams and other equipment for use in the government's campaign against illegal drugs. Vice-President Leni Robredo said body cams are "indispensable." Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA—Vice-President Leni Robredo wants law enforcement to use body cameras in anti-drug busts "to protect the integrity of anti-narcotics operations."

"Indispensable ang body cameras. Protection ’yun sa law enforcement agents. Protection ’yun kasi ang iba sa kanila nakakasuhan nang walang basehan," Robredo told reporters Saturday.

(Body cameras are indispensable. They are protection for law enforcement agents, because some of them get charged without basis.)

"Mas lalong protection sa tao. [Makikita] kung ano talaga ang tunay na nangyari sa operasyon. Sa ngayon kasi, palitan lang ng accusations."

(They are especially protection for the people. We will be able to see what really happened in operations because right now, only accusations are thrown.)

Robredo, the newly designated co-chair of Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), earlier said she will join anti-drug operations after her ICAD co-chair, national drug enforcement chief Gen. Aaron Aquino, challenged her to join "actual" drug busts.

Robredo, who had repeatedly criticized President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war over the deaths of thousands of alleged suspects while supposedly leaving many big-time drug traffickers untouched, is under pressure to lead the country's anti-narcotics campaign.

Duterte appointed her to the anti-drug post after she said the President must stop his "failed" drug war. She later clarified that she meant to urge administration leaders to "step back and assess" the narcotics crackdown.

 Her camp said she will focus on preventing unnecessary killings while treating drug use as a public health issue, not just law enforcement problem.

As ICAD co-chair, the Vice President is expected to get full access to information, including investigation reports into police operations which resulted in deaths.

Human rights groups, local and international, have questioned government figures showing at least 6,000 deaths in the drug war, saying the actual number could be double or even triple the official count.

The official ICAD figure is 5,779 deaths as of Oct. 31, said Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, spokesman of the Philippine National Police, which initially placed the number at 6,600.

- with reports from Bianca Dava and Christian Esguerra, ABS-CBN News