MANILA-- The Senate approved on Monday on third and final reading a bill which seeks to allow the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director and the CIDG deputy director to issue subpoenas on cases under investigation.
Senate Bill No. 1239 was approved with 20 affirmative votes and one negative vote by Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto. The measure is authored and sponsored by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
Lacson said that when the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police were merged to establish the current PNP under Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the "DILG Act of 1990," most of the powers due the agency were carried over except for the subpoena powers.
"It seems absurd that the Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU), now known as the CIDG, with a mandate to undertake monitoring, investigation and prosecution of all crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly-placed or professional syndicates and organization, has lost its subpoena powers," Lacson said in his sponsorship speech.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, said it would be difficult for the PNP's investigative arm to complete a thorough investigation with the removal of its subpoena powers.
Without the subpoena powers, he pointed out, investigations would be incomplete and government resources would be wasted.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon explained that that there is "every reason to grant such authority to the PNP chief who has control and supervision over lower-ranked officials, like the director and the deputy director of the CIDG."
Lacson and Drilon agreed that the subpoena powers should be limited only to the PNP chief, the CIDG director and deputy director and that the said powers may not be delegated to other officers.
Aside from the courts, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, National Police Commission, Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Cybercrime Operation Center of the Cybercrime Investigation Coordination Center are authorized to issue subpoenas. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency