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Police, CIDG now have subpoena power

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This handout photo taken on March 6, 2017 and released by the Philippine National Police-Public Information Office (PNP-PIO) shows PNP Chief Ronald 'Bato' Dela Rosa (C) speaking during a press conference at the national police headquarters in Manila. AFP

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) now have the power to issue subpoenas under Republic Act (RA) No. 10973, which President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law on March 1.

RA No. 10973 grants the chief of the PNP and the director and deputy director of the CIDG the authority to administer oath and to issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum.

The said Act amends RA No. 6975 or the Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990.

The new law says the issuance of subpoenas shall be “in relation to” an investigation being conducted by the PNP and the CIDG.

It adds: “[S]uch powers shall be exercised solely by the aforementioned officials and may not be further delegated to any other person or office.”

The subpoena shall state the nature and purpose of investigation, and shall be directed to the person whose attendance is required.

Moreover, in the case of a subpoena duces tecum, “it shall contain a reasonable description of the books, documents, or things demanded which must be relevant to the investigation.”

“Failure to comply with subpoena and subpoena duces tecum shall authorize the filing of a case for indirect contempt under the Rules of Court with the Regional Trial Court.”

The new law is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1239 and House Bill No. 4863.

In his sponsorship speech, Senator Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson, Sr. explained: “[W]hen Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the “DILG Act of 1990” was passed into law, it integrated the Philippine Constabulary and Integrated National Police to establish the Philippine National Police (PNP). A review of this law would show that most of the powers were carried over except for the subpoena power…It seems absurd that the CIU, now more known as the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), with a mandate to undertake monitoring, investigation, and prosecution of all crimes involving economic sabotage and other crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly-placed or professional criminal syndicates and organizations, has lost its subpoena powers.”

“Let us correct this oversight by restoring the subpoena powers of the CIDG Director and his/her deputies. It is submitted that these powers are indispensable to carry out the mandated investigatory functions of the [CIDG],” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin