PNP Chief: Cops want weapons, not ‘body cams’
Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa on Tuesday said he would rather buy new guns and weapons for his men than procure “body cameras” for them to wear to record their actions during anti-drug operations. Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon earlier proposed the use of body cameras for the police to prove that they are not violating the human rights of drug suspects.
But De la Rosa was not receptive to the idea of having cops wear body cameras. He said he will not satisfy critics claiming the police are carrying out extrajudicial executions.
“‘Yung pera na ibibili sa mga body camera na ‘yan, ibili ko na lang ng mga bala at baril para armasan ‘yung mga tao ko. Last priority ko ‘yung pag-satisfy ng mga critics na ‘yan. Hindi ko sila satisfy para lang mag-kalma. Bahala sila,” De la Rosa told reporters before presiding the command conference with top PNP officials at Camp Crame.
(I prefer to use the money to buy bullets and weapons to arm the cops instead of buying body cameras. Satisfying our critics is the least of my priorities. I won’t satisfy them just to calm them down. I don’t care.)
A visibly irked De la Rosa added: “Hirap nga tayong bumili ng bala at baril para sa tao natin, camera pa iniisip ninyo. Unahin muna namin ‘yung basic na pangangailangan ng mga tauhan namin to defend themselves, not to defend the other party. ‘Yan ang iniisip namin ngayon.” (We have been encountering difficulties procuring bullets and guns for our cops, yet you want cameras. We should prioritize the basic necessities of our cops so that they may defend themselves, and not busy ourselves thinking of ways to defend the other party.)
The police chief noted that slain drug suspects should not be pitied as policemen also die during operations, while some fighting for their lives in the hospital.
“Nakikita naman natin kung paano manlaban itong mga kalaban natin (You can see how our enemies are fighting). We are at war so if you go to war, you don’t go there unprepared and haphazard ‘yung ating preparation (with haphazard preparations),” he said. “Kapag isang pulis pumasok sa raid, you must be ready to kill or be killed. Ready ka in both instances pwede ka mamatay or pwede kang pumatay. Walang in between ‘yan na either-or,” he added.
(Once a police participates in a raid, he must be ready to kill or be killed. You should be ready to die or kill. There is no in between in that either-or situation.) As of August 15, the Inquirer “Kill List” has tallied 646 drug-related deaths since President Duterte assumed office last June 30.