MANILA—The subpoena powers granted to some Philippine National Police (PNP) officials cannot be used to order arrests, Malacañang clarified on Saturday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said police officials with subpoena powers need to file a petition at courts before carrying out arrests.
"Iyong subpoena powers po hindi po iyan dahilan para sila ay magkaroon ng kapangyarihan na mag-aresto, dahilan lang po iyan para magkaroon ng petition for indirect contempt at ang hukuman pa rin po ang magpapataw ng parusa doon sa hindi susunod sa mga subpoenas," Roque said in a press briefing in Alimodian town, Iloilo.
President Rodrigo Duterte on March 1 signed a law giving subpoena powers to the PNP chief and selected police officials to speed up criminal investigation.
Under the revised law, the PNP chief and the director and deputy director for administration of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group “shall have the power to administer oath, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum (documents) in relation to its investigation.”
"This subpoena power will give hope to the many victims of crimes who were deprived of justice due to the slow investigation processes, as witnesses or respondents to crimes cannot be forced to face investigation," Roque said.
He added that there are laws in place to ensure that the police will not abuse the subpoena powers.
"So kung talagang walang dahilan para mag-subpoena, puwede naman pong kuwestiyunin iyan sa pamamagitan ng certiorari, arguing that it is whimsical, capricious," he said.