Sa harap ng umiinit na kontrobersiya sa isang anti-drug operation sa Laguna, ipinanawagan ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang pagpapabilis sa proseso para makumpleto na at ganap nang magamit ang mga body cameras na inilaan para sa mga operatiba ng Philippine National Police (PNP).
Nadamay at napatay sa nabanggit na operasyon ang isang 16-taong gulang na tinedyer na ayon sa mga kaanak ay sadyang pinatay at ikinatuwiran naman ng mga pulis na ito ay nanlaban.
“The killing of a minor in a recent PNP drug bust operation and the subsequent ‘he says, she says’ conflicting versions of the story should prod the PNP to fast-track the procurement of more body cameras and require all their personnel deployed in field operations,” banggit ni Lacson.
Bukod sa naturang panawagan, umaasa rin si Lacson – na namuno sa PNP noong 1999 hanggang 2001 – na sa pinakamaagang panahon ay maglalabas ng patakaran ang Korte Suprema sa paggamit ng body cameras na magpapatigil sa pagbabatuhan ng kamalian at pangangatuwiran para palabasin na sila ang tama, sa pagitan ng mga operatiba at grupo o indibiduwal na target ng operasyon.
Amid the controversy involving the killing of a minor in an anti-drug operation in Laguna, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Monday pushed for the fast-tracking of the procurement and deployment of body cameras for Philippine National Police operatives in the field.
Lacson, who headed the PNP from 1999 to 2001, also hopes the Supreme Court would issue soonest the guidelines for the use of the body cameras, which he said will lessen the “he said, she said” situation where various parties insist on conflicting versions of what happened.
“The killing of a minor in a recent PNP drug bust operation and the subsequent ‘he says, she says’ conflicting versions of the story should prod the PNP to fast-track the procurement of more body cameras and require all their personnel deployed in field operations,” he said.
“We hope the Supreme Court would issue soonest the guidelines and protocols for the use of the body cameras based on established jurisprudence that defines ‘reasonable expectation of privacy test’ – which will be a major asset to our law enforcers as well as improved protection of civilians against police abuses,” he added.
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.
I happen to know this from institutional memory when I was being interpellated by Sen. Leila de Lima on the bill amending Republic Act 4200, otherwise known as the Anti-Wiretapping Act, involving the issue of an individual’s right to privacy.
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.
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.
Malinaw na nakasaad sa Saligang Batas ang karapatan ng Senado sa pagpasok ng ating pamahalaan sa mga pandaigdigang tratado lalo na kung nakasalalay ang pangmatagalang kapakanan at interes ng bansa, katulad ng Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“I may not be a lawyer like the President. But last time I read the Constitution, a senator has something to do with international agreements. The President should refresh his memory by reading Article VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution. It says: No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate,” banggit ni Lacson.
No less than the 1987 Constitution gives senators a say in the Philippines’ international agreements like the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement, especially if they affect the country’s long-term national interest and security.
“I may not be a lawyer like the President. But last time I read the Constitution, a senator has something to do with international agreements. The President should refresh his memory by reading Article VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution. It says: No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate,” said Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense.
Something is very wrong with Lt. Gen. Parlade’s mindset. On its face, his statement clearly implying that a journalist “was aiding the terrorists” is careless and insensitive. I do not know how else any literate person can interpret that.
That said, I couldn’t care less what else comes out of his mouth, nor do I have anything to do with his quarrel with Ms. Tetch Torres-Tupas. My primary concern is the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which I and my staff, as well as my fellow senators worked extra hard to afford the state an effective legal tool against terrorism while ensuring that the Bill of Rights is protected, especially that the law is now facing some serious challenges before the Supreme Court.
If Lt. Gen. Parlade wants to help enlighten the magistrates as he claims, he can do it better by not talking about terrorism.
Without the certainty of punishment, the conviction of “pork barrel scam queen” Janet Lim-Napoles will not be enough to stop the menace of pork barrel and its iterations, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Saturday.
Lacson, who had battled the pork barrel system since 2001, lamented that not even the Supreme Court’s ruling outlawing pork in 2013 managed to stop the practice since those involved would merely find a way to circumvent it.
“Have we solved the problem of ensuring public funds are used properly instead of going to the pockets of corrupt people? Can we be sure projects are free of bribery and other forms of corruption? These are questions that we must ask ourselves, and we can easily verify the answers – it takes two to tango,” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio.
Coming at a time when the Solicitor General is defending the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 against 37 petitions, particularly on the issue involving “overbreadth doctrine” among others, such remarks from a high-ranking military official is uncalled for and totally unnecessary.
The DPWH Secretary has full authority to assign personnel under his department, including the district engineers, unless he delegates it to his regional directors or if Malacañang overrides the assignments on very few occasions.
We also know that district representatives almost always use their influence in having their “favorite” district engineers assigned to their districts for a very obvious purpose: to have full control in the implementation of their “pet projects” funded by their insertions in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The question is, can the DPWH Secretary stand up to the pressure exerted on him by the congressmen? As we already know, the answer is obviously no. And no matter how the secretary denies it, nobody is ready to believe him. We also know that it is the root cause of corruption.
Almost anything that has to do with politics in this country breeds corruption. Politics becomes evil when self-aggrandizement and greed come into play – whether it is in aid of reelection or enrichment of an elected official while in power, the result is the same. Worse, these people do not know when to stop once they have started.
We only need to drive around the country to see and experience it everyday, in the form of dilapidated and substandard roads and bridges and other infrastructure projects. Potholes and clogged drainage are commonplace during and after the rains; worn-out infra projects even only after a few years of construction and inaugurations, and many more evidence in plain sight.