PNP-CIDG vows not to abuse subpoena powers

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2018 01:25 AM

MANILA - The investigating body of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said it will not abuse the subpoena power given to it.

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act 10973, which amends Republic Act 6975 or the Local Government Code.

"Tatlong tao lang, hindi pwedeng i-delegate yon. Para yung accountability and responsibility, nasa shoulders lang namin Kahit sino sa amin pupuwede. Pero sa PNP na napakalaki ng organisasyon, tatlo lang. May wisdom na sa bawat gagawin, may accountability and responsibility din para doon sa mga taong naatasan na magbigay ng subpoena," police Director Roel Obusan said.

"It will not be abused. Subpoena can be checked, the person can consult lawyers and other learned individuals. It will not supplant rights of the people. In fact, this can lessen conduct of search warrants," he added.

Obusan added that they are looking forward to a better and faster investigative process in CIDG and the PNP.

"Mas mapapabilis ang proseso. Mabilis siya na walang masyadong nasasaktan. Maiiwasan din yung bulung-bulungan na kapag nag-raid ay kung anu-ano ang kinukuha ng raiding party, kahit na hindi subject ng search warrant. So mas magiging mas democratic, legit at mas mabilis," he said.

Aside from the PNP chief, the CIDG director and the deputy for administration now have the authority to issue a subpoena in relation to an investigation.

Obusan said this will also give them the authority to ask documentary evidence from concerned individuals and entities for use in the filing of cases.

Police Senior Supt. Wilson Asueta, chief of CIDG-National Capital Region, said it was hard before to get information which can be used as evidence like accessing documents and copies of CCTV footage which are needed in their investigation.

"Dati kung may gusto kang hingin na ebidensiya na hindi ibibigay basta o kahit anong related na request na document na nahihirapang maibigay," he said.

"Mas mabilis ngayon, dahil kapag inimbitahan mo, may ngipin ka. Hindi mere invitation lang, may effect sa imbestigador. Pag ayaw nila, pwede mong kasuhan. Lalo na sa mga financial investigations related sa drugs. Mas magaan pagkuha ng ebidensiya."

Asueta said CIDG officials who will abuse the subpoena powers will face administrative or criminal charges.

"May measure na gagawin, ipapadaan din sa legal, review bago makarating kay chief or director. Hindi naman basta basta mag-i-issue ang director. Evaluate din yung kanilang i-a-apply. Kung sinong mag-violate magkakaroon pa rin ng admin or criminal charge, depends sa situation," he said.

In the law enforcement group, only the PNP is unable to issue subpoenas as opposed to the National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Department of Justice.

"Sa dami ng law enforcement agencies especially itong sa amin, premier investigative arm of the PNP, wala namang subpoena powers. This legal process is beneficial sa lahat ng law enforcement and sa mga tao na concerned. Mapapadali ang pag-serve ng justice," Obusan said.

Police Supt. Joseph Orsos, CIDG chief of legal, said failure to respond to a subpoena is considered contempt of court.

"It can be considered as contempt of higher court meaning RTC. Hindi lang siya contemptuous act ng MTC, meaning you can be incarcerated within thirty days," he said.