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08 May 2012

Rep. Winston Castelo proposes CCTV to surender when crime is committed

A lawmaker is proposing to make it a legal obligation of owners of closed-circuit television (CCTVs), and similar gadgets to preserve and surrender recorded data to lawful authorities when a crime is committed.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City)"Denial or non-disclosure of the requested information or recorded data when a crime is committed may be construed as spoliation or tampering of evidence. Depriving authorities of said data when available is clear obstruction of justice," Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) said.

Castelo filed House Bill 5971 requiring CCTV owners to yield information or recorded data on the commission of a crime upon request or the proper investigative body or competent court.

Castelo noted that some cities or similar local government units have issued ordinances regulating the use of CCTVs, hidden camera, or similar digital gadgets as a form of self-protection or deterrent against intruders, attackers or criminals especially the business sector.

"There are mansions, houses, apartments, or residences whose owners have installed CCTVs in order to protect or drive away unwanted attackers or intruders, or at least be able to monitor or record illegal or unlawful entries when they are not around," Castelo said.

Castelo said the CCTVs or similar gadgets have proven to be of great relief in many instances when crimes have been committed and no witnesses would come out to account for what really happened.

"CCTVs have proven to be a very useful protective device, especially in the resolution of a crime where there are no witnesses," Castelo said, adding that "it has now become admissible evidence in court -- the submission of the images or sounds captured on a CCTV or similar gadgets."

Castelo said the bill does not prescribe the actual penalties since obstruction of justice is penalized under the Revised Penal Code and similar statutes in the country's criminal justice system.

The bill had been referred to the House Committee on Justice for proper consideration before Congress went on recess.

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