Hundreds of police officers will start wearing body cameras this week to fight police abuses and erase the public's distrust about the legitimacy of its drug war operations, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar.
The announcement came after public outrage over a policeman who fatally shot a civilian, heeding calls for police accountability after thousands of killings and allegations of cover-ups.
"We want the anti-drug campaign recorded to erase mistrust against our men to bring back the trust and confidence of the people," Eleazar told the media.
Eleazar also said the cameras were a tribute "to the policemen whose ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty were tainted by claims of extra-judicial killings, planting of evidence and other unfair allegations."
Philippine police have been accused of executing suspects then staging crime scenes and fabricating reports, allegedly due to a culture of impunity under President Rodrigo Duterte, which the government and the PNP both reject.
According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the killing of a woman by a drunk policeman, which was captured on video and went viral on social media, emphasizes the need for bodycams.
"The case shows that police accountability may only be possible if the crime is caught on camera. While cameras alone won't stop police abuses, they bring a measure of transparency during police operations," HRW Philippine researcher Carlos Conde said.
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