The Philippine National Police received a timely boost Tuesday from former PNP chief and now Senator Panfilo Lacson, regarding the use of body cameras for its personnel.
Lacson said the PNP Legal Service may read the Supreme Court ruling on Ople vs Torres, regarding the “reasonable expectation of privacy” test.
“If the Philippine National Police leadership has privacy concerns over the use of body cameras for police personnel, I would suggest that it direct the PNP Legal Service to read the Supreme Court ruling on Ople vs Torres (GR No 127685), regarding ‘reasonable expectation of privacy test.’ According to the High Court, the test determines whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and whether the expectation has been violated,” Lacson, who headed the PNP from 1999 to 2001, said in a statement.
He said he knows this from institutional memory when he was interpellated by Sen. Leila de Lima on the bill amending Republic Act 4200, the Anti-Wiretapping Act.
The interpellation at the time involved the issue of an individual’s right to privacy, he recalled.
“For example, a CCTV camera installed in a public place may be a good source of evidence since a malefactor captured by the camera while committing a crime will fail the ‘reasonable expectation of privacy test.’ The same is true with the body camera,” Lacson said.
“Either way, the policeman committing an abuse in the exercise of his duties as well as the crime offender cannot use the ‘right to privacy’ as their defense since either of them will fail the test,” he added.
Earlier, PNP Logistics Director P/Maj. Gen. Angelito Casimiro said body cameras have been distributed to major cities but the PNP still could not use them as the protocols are not yet finished.
Casimiro said the PNP is still trying to address potential privacy issues when presenting the videos as evidence before the courts.