Prosecutor lectures police on warrantless arrest
MANILA, Philippines — “Do not insist on what is wrong,” a prosecutor from the Department of Justice (DOJ) told members of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) following his order to release from custody Marawi City Vice Mayor Arafat Salic.
Salic was arrested last Wednesday for rebellion because of his alleged participation in the Marawi siege. He was arrested by virtue of Martial Law Administrator Arrest Order dated on September 4, 2017.
Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong said the complaint filed by the CIDG “is not inquestible.”
Salic was taken to the DOJ to undergo inquest proceedings two days after his arrest.
An inquest is a summary proceeding where the suspect is informed of his offense and the evidence against him. A suspect undergoes inquest if he is arrested without a warrant during a buy-bust or entrapment operations or caught while committing a crime or escaping from detention.
“Ang inquest is for a warrantless arrest; a warrantless arrest is for the crime that is being committed, the crime has just been committed, crime is about to be committed or the person to be arrested escaped from detention while being transported,” Ong told the police.
Even in hot pursuit cases, six days may be too long for inquest proceedings, Ong said, citing the Supreme Court ruling on Rolito Go.
“I was very much keen in asking our courageous officers, thank you for saying kung ano lang ang totoo inutusan kayo (thank you for saying the truth that you are just following orders). He was not committing an offense at that time [of arrest] March 13. He was not about to commit any offense, he has not just committed an offense? You based your arrest sa September 2017,” Ong asked the police officers who answered yes.
“That was almost two years ago. I will not accept this as an inquest case. This is not an inquest case,” Ong said.
He gave the police officers an option to either withdraw the complaint or submit it for preliminary investigation.
“Kung gusto niyo withdraw niyo pero kung gusto niyo ipa-docket namin as regular preliminary investigation tutal andito na testigo niyo, kayong dalawa manumpa na lang kayo,” Ong said.
(If you want, you can withdraw (the complaint), or you can have this docketed for regular preliminary investigation since your witnesses are already here. You two (referring to the witnesses) can already take your oath.)
“Magkakasama tayo sa trabaho (You work together). Do not insist on what is wrong,” he said, adding that there is no longer a Task Force Marawi in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
The Senior Prosecutor ordered Salic’s release for preliminary investigation. But he told Salic that his release will only be temporary. He said if they found enough evidence to prosecute him in court, he could again be arrested. /ee
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