Sen. Leila M. de Lima has sought the preservation and protection of data recorded by security cameras that would serve not only as possible leads in identifying and apprehending criminals but also as evidence to build cases against them.
De Lima, who is detained at Camp Crame, has filed Senate Bill No. 1364 which seeks to protect data from recorded closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras as possible leads and evidence in the investigation and prosecution of crimes in the country.
“Criminality is an ever-present threat to our way of life. It requires from us unwavering vigilance. As a means to continuously monitor our surroundings and protect ourselves from criminal elements, we have embraced the tools on modern technology,” she said.
“The latest advances in video capture technology has allowed us to automatically video record events in real time. Recent events have shown that security cameras have been instrumental in recording criminal activities,” she added.
Law enforcement agencies have installed CCTV cameras in strategic areas in Metro Manila and other public establishments to deter the commission of crime and, if committed, to assist in their solution.
Some local government units have also required business establishments in their areas to install as a requirement before they can be issued with license to operate.
“However,” De Lima noted, “it was also shown that the videos recorded from security cameras are in danger of being destroyed by criminal elements who seek to remove any evidence of their participation in the crime.”
She cited the grisly murder of the late Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa while inside his detention cell; and the involvement of an RCBC branch to move stolen money from the Bangladesh Bank as examples.
She said the State should help shoulder the responsibility of keeping recorded data when both government and private offices fail to do so.
“It is incumbent upon us to enact a law to preserve the recorded video as soon as an incident within the vicinity of the security camera is identified,” she said.
“As government offices and private establishments are usually unable to store recorded data for a long time, it is prudent that the data, which can be used as evidence for criminal prosecution, be stored in a nationally maintained redundant storage system,” she added.
Both the Espinosa and RCBC cases involve highly-suspicious disappearances of closed circuit television system (CCTV) footages, she pointed out.
SB 1364 also seeks to authorize both the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) to “establish and maintain a registry of all security cameras owned and operated by government offices and covered private establishments.”
“The DILG and NICA shall institute measures to preserve the confidentiality of this registry,” she added.
SB 1364 also proposes that all government offices and covered private establishments who own and operate security cameras shall be required to maintain recorded data for a period of two months from the date of recording.
In addition, the bill proposes that officers-in-charge (Security OICs) of the security of cameras and their respective data will be directed to preserve and surrender any requested footage to the DILG and NICA, within 24 hours, upon receipt of an incident report filed by any law enforcement agency.
Under the measure, any person who willfully or through reckless imprudence destroys recorded data required by the measure to be preserved shall be penalized between six months to 12 years or a fine between P50,000 and P100,000 or both.