Lacson: Bank had no right to bar police
MANILA, Philippines — The policemen who were prevented from entering a bank in Manila immediately following a robbery could have invoked a presidential decree penalizing those who block the apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders, according to Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
But Lacson also said that Presidential Decree 1829 should be strengthened to a Republic Act to give it more teeth.
Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said the responding lawmen should not have been prevented from entering the bank right after the robbery as this amounted to obstruction of justice.
The PNP earlier complained that its operatives were denied entry for two hours to the Metrobank branch in Binondo on July 11, with bank officials citing the protocol imposed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Robbers entered the bank before it opened for the day, with the guard reportedly offering no resistance. The amount stolen has yet to be disclosed.
In a radio interview, Lacson said the first 72 hours after the occurrence of a crime were the most crucial for the preservation of evidence.
“They [police] cannot be told that they cannot enter. That is obstruction [of justice],” he stressed, adding: “When it comes to a crime scene, the investigators have jurisdiction.”
According to Lacson, had the policemen known their rights or their authority, their investigation would not have been hindered.
The police field investigation manual states that first responders should not be stopped from entering a crime scene, he stressed.
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