Solon asks law enforcers: Stop outdated probe methods, use modern evidence gathering
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has asked law enforcement agencies to shun old and outdated methods of investigation methods and instead utilize new technologically-based means of evidence gathering, to raise the public’s trust on such procedures.
Bicol Saro party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan said in a statement on Monday that certain examinations, like paraffin tests which are used to determine if a person has fired a gun, are already obsolete since a Supreme Court ruling said such tests are not conclusive after 72 hours.
“Out with the old, in with the new. Our law enforcers should ditch outdated crime investigation methods and embrace technology and science in doing their job. This would not only ensure airtight cases against crime suspects, it would help build the public’s trust in police investigations,” Yamsuan said.
According to Yamsuan, he and Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte has filed House Bill (HB) No. 7975 as early as May 9 this year to address these challenges to evidence gathering and criminal investigation.
Under HB No. 7975, several guidelines in terms of law enforcement operation and investigation have been set, like:
- Respect of constitutional rights in crime investigation
- Preservation of crime scene, specifically the provision of medical assistance without contaminating the scene; providing a detailed briefing to investigators assigned; control of individuals who can access crime scenes; identification of people and information sharing; documentation and collection of samples; and direction of a walk-through
- Proper packaging of evidence
The said proposal, if enacted, would also create a Creation of the Crime Investigation Modernization Committee (CIMC), which would study the method of crime investigation in the country and eventually create a manual for law enforcement officers.
The proposed CIMC will be composed of the following officials:
- Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government as Chairperson
- Chief of the Philippine National Police
- Director of the National Bureau of Investigation
- Two experts in forensic science to be appointed by the President
“The science of criminal investigations should also change to keep up with the rapid pace of modern life, heavy reliance on computers and technology for a wide array of transactions,” the lawmakers said.
“Keeping up with strategies is significant in the maintenance of peace and order in our society and in the administration of justice,” they added.
A reform of the investigation and the criminal justice system was one of the items discussed by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla before the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council last October 2022, as an assurance that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration is taking the issue of human rights seriously.
Prior to this declaration, there have been several questions if police officers and other law enforcement agencies have observed protocols during operations and investigation, with some sectors claiming that the suspects’ rights were breached.