The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday said it supports the law granting subpoena powers to high-ranking police officials, noting that the "new authority is not unlimited."
"The Commission recognizes the intent of granting subpoena powers to PNP (Philippine National Police) in speeding up criminal investigations," the CHR said in a statement, a week after President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act 10973, which amended the Local Government Code allowing 3 police officials to summon persons or documents needed in an investigation.
"We emphasize, however, that this new authority is not unlimited and should be within the bounds of our Constitutional rights, laws, Rules of Court, and jurisprudence in the interest of upholding the rule of law and human rights for all," the CHR said.
The new law grants the PNP chief, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group's director and deputy director for administration "the power to administer oath, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum (documents) in relation to its investigation.”
Last week, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the subpoena powers given to some police officials were meant to speed up the investigation process.
But police officials will still have to file a petition before judicial courts before carrying out arrests.
"As such, we look forward to more cases being brought to justice, including those deaths linked to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs," the CHR said.
On Monday, PNP Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said he will only use his subpoena powers in "extreme cases."