Senate panel supports proposed court for police abuse cases
The Senate committee on justice and human rights on Wednesday expressed support to the proposal to create a special court that will tackle police abuse cases.
Sen. Richard Gordon, the Senate panel’s chairman, authored the Senate Bill No. 1399 or the Police Court Act of 2017.
“The objective of the bill is to shine the spotlight of responsibility on the law in the matter of police cases involving violation of constitutional rights, as well as crimes perpetrated by police officers upon the public,” Gordon said in a statement.
Under the bill, a Police Law Enforcement Court or Police Court will be created among existing Regional Trial Courts (RTCs). The Police Courts will have “exclusive jurisdiction” over civil and criminal cases on abuse of authority from the Philippine National Police (PNP) whether on or off duty.
The Police Court will also have jurisdiction on cases such as the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus “when there is evidence that the victim is held under the custody of any members of PNP.”
The bill also mandated the creation of an Appellate Police Court among divisions of the Court of Appeals which will be tapped for appeals from the Police Court.
Gordon then, explained that the bill was meant to provide “impartial and speedy disposition” of complaints about violations of constitutional rights and PNP rules and procedures.
Gordon said the bill will help in enforcing the rule of law on criminal cases such as extrajudicial killings, salvaging, and riding-in-tandem.
“There are no shortcuts, and the police force must follow the rules of engagement and the rule of law in their operations against illegal drugs and other criminal activities,” Gordon said.
Senators Panfilo Lacson and Loren Legarda co-authored the bill.
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