By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
The Philippine National Police has been given the power to issue subpoenas under a new law and Malacañang assured the public the police will not abuse this authority.
President Duterte has signed Republic Act No. 10973 granting the PNP chief and the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director and PNP deputy director for administration the authority to administer oath and issue subpoenas and subpoena duces tecum in relation to case investigations.
However, Human Rights Watch researcher Carlos Conde raised concerns about the law, saying this may be abused by an already abusive police force.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Conde’s claims were baseless as the Constitution safeguards the public from abusive use of subpoenas and noted that all police have that power.
“Meron naman tayong mga umiiral na batas kapag inabuso itong ganitong kapangyarihan. So kung talagang walang dahilan mag-subpoena, pwede naman pong kwestyunin yan sa pamamagitan ng certiorari arguing that it is whimsical, capricious,” Roque said.
“Hindi naman po sila mago-order ng pagkakakulong. Kapag hindi po sinunod ang subpoena, kinakailangan pa magsampa sa hukuman ng isang petisyon for indirect contempt,” he added.
Roque said that RA 10973 will allow those deprived of justice to have hope as the subpoena power will enhance the PNP’s mandate to solve criminal cases.
“This will add more teeth on their mandate to enhance the law and find solution to the criminal cases,” he said.
“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.”