San Juan City intensifies drive vs bank heists

February 03, 2008

DUE to the increasing numbers of bank robberies in the metropolis, the San Juan city government has approved an ordinance requiring all banking institutions in the area to put up a close circuit television or video monitoring in their establishment.

City Ordinance 14-2007 authored by Coun. Dante Santiago invoked the Local Government Code in sponsoring the law saying they are tasked to “remain peace and order by enacting measures to prevent and suppress lawlessness and disorders and impose penalties for the violation of the said ordinances.

The ordinance states that despite security measures put up by banking institutions, fearless outlaws who are mostly armed with deadly and high-powered weapons still successfully stage robbery-holdups.

“With the use of video cameras in and outside of their banks, they can record all persons coming and out of their premises and monitor the goings-on inside,” Santiago said.

He also emphasized that with the use of video monitoring devices, police and investigators will have an easier time identifying the people behind the robbery-hold ups. He cited the recent Landbank robbery-holdup where the actual heist was seen thru CCTV’s.

The ordinance states that daily video recordings must be stored and preserved for a minimum period of at least 15 days for review purposes and reference after which the same shall be destroyed unless its preservation is required by a court order, the local police, or the city mayor.

The bank authorities must give the duly authorized local authorities/police access to the recordings or video tapes/footages if the occasion warrants after the assigned officer has shown the written authority issued to him by the city police chief for the purpose.

The duly authorized local police or investigating officer assigned to view a bank’s video file relevant to a pending case or investigation will be allowed to view the video no more than five minutes before and after a particular client/victim/complainant was inside the bank premises.

Santiago, however, warned that it shall be unlawful for any person to allow the unauthorized or unofficial use or viewing of any saved video recording and the unauthorized public identification of the identity of any person or client seen on the video other than that of a complainant or a victim.

Violators will be fined P5,000 plus a month-suspension of the business permit and license to operate and the possible revocation of business permit and license.

Earlier, the National Capital Region Police Office under Director Geary Barias admitted that the bank robbery in Metro Manila had increased to at least 50 percent as compared to the previous year.

Jerico Javier, People’s Journal