DNA testing is prerogative of investigator, lawyer says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 12 2017 03:42 AM

It is the prerogative of a police investigator to have the DNA of an unidentified body tested, a criminal law expert said Monday. 

According to Atty. Jose Justiniano, it is important for an investigator to establish the identity of a body, and performing a DNA test on it is the most accurate method to do so.

"Wala namang pagkakakilanlan, walang mga ID. Kung ikaw ang imbestigador ng pulis, magpapa-DNA ka kasi 'yung DNA test, 'yan ang pinaka-accurate na method para ma-identify ang isang tao," he told DZMM.

He said authorities do not need a request of the victim's family to perform the test.

"Hindi kailangang mag-request 'yung pamilya ng victim para magkaroon ng DNA test. Prerogative 'yan ng isang investigator. 'Yang DNA, para ka ring kumukuha ng finger print, hindi kailangan ng pahintulot nung mga pamilya nung biktima o kung sino man," Justiniano said.

It is important to establish the identity of the victim so that the court can identify who will be given damages in case a lawsuit is filed, he added.

"Kaya lang naman natin pinag-uusapan kung sino ang biktima kasi kung may criminal liability, may civil liability din. So 'yung makakatanggap ng danyos 'yung mga surviving na relatives noong namatay," Justiniano explained.

However, a suspect has to be identified in order for a case to be filed.

"Kahit na sabihin mo na nag-match pa yan, ay wala ka pa rin namang pwedeng i-file na kaso kasi wala pa rin namang suspect. Walang witness na makapagsasabi kung nakita ba nila 'yung pagkamatay ni Kulot, or kung sino ang kasama ni Kulot," Justiniano said.

"Sinong suspect mo? Kahit sabihin mo pang 'yan ay si Kulot, kahit nag-match ang DNA, wala ka pa ring maifa-file na kaso," he added.

Police on Monday said the body of a boy stabbed dozens of times and found in Nueva Ecija last week was not that of Reynaldo "Kulot" de Guzman, the 14-year-old companion of slain teenager Carl Angelo Arnaiz.

The DNA sample from the body did not match samples taken from De Guzman's parents.

De Guzman's parents, however, did not request for a DNA test, according to Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta.

The parents identified the body based on his known body marks including a wart on his left leg, below the knee.

"The parents were asked to sign a document but they did not understand," Acosta said, insisting that the family did not request for DNA test.

Acosta said the parents are agitated by the announcement of the PNP and would challenge the findings.

DNA tests are not always conclusive, Acosta said.