Solon calls for video recording of police custodial interviews

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Cebu representative Eduardo Gullas has called for the video recording of police custodial interrogations of “persons of interest” and suspects, saying it is already standard practice in other countries, particularly in grave felonies.

“There’s no question the electronic recording of custodial interviews is a potent law enforcement tool,” Gullas, a lawyer by profession, said.

Gullas made the statement after two respondents in the case involving the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera claimed they were pressured by the police to link somebody to drug use during the New Year’s party they all attended at a Makati City hotel.

Gullas said “creating and keeping” electronic records of custodial question and answer sessions will:

  • Provide instant playback and clarity when there are disputes as to what was said or not said;
  • Protect both the officers conducting the inquiry and the persons being questioned;
  • Improve police investigatory skills and practices, including observance of the rights of persons under investigation or invited for questioning; and
  • Help prosecutors quickly determine probable cause (or lack of it) to take a case to trial.

“We would urge the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to prepare a project to modernize police stations by equipping them with suitable video recording devices,” Gullas said.

“The DILG can then seek funding for the project in the proposed 2022 national budget,” Gullas, House appropriations committee member, said.

“Strict and comprehensive guidelines should also be drawn up as to when and how the electronic recording of custodial interviews should be properly conducted and stored,” Gullas said.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) too should start video recording its own custodial cross-examinations, according to Gullas.

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