3 years after Kian Delos Santos slay, PNP to begin testing body cameras

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2020 09:23 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 - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it will begin testing body cameras this month, before it fully rolls out the project in December 2020, 3 years since suggestions to include the gadgets in police operations were raised after a teenager was killed by police.

The "functional testing and valuation" of body cameras for the police will begin on October 12, PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan said during a budget hearing in the Senate.

"Only if it passes the testing and evaluation will body cameras be issued to units in anti-drug activities," he said.

Should everything go well during the tests, at least 2,600 units will be "delivered by December 30, 2020," he said.

In 2017, the PNP said it would purchase 175,000 body cameras after the agency drew criticism over the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos, and 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, who were tagged as drug couriers despite the lack of evidence.

Under the proposal, footage from the body cameras may be used to file sanctions or charges against authorities who would be caught abusing their power, especially during anti-narcotics operations.

Last year, 3 policemen were relieved from their posts after their were caught extorting money from one of the companies bidding to provide body cameras for the government.