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Año won’t allow abuse of subpoenas

/ 05:45 AM March 16, 2018

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has assured the public it would guard against the abuse of the Philippine National Police’s power to issue subpoenas.

“The DILG will be on the lookout for any hint of abuse that may be committed by the PNP in carrying out its restored subpoena powers and we will see to it that this will be used only for the intention that it was granted,” DILG officer in charge Eduardo Año said in a statement on Thursday.

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Not for whole PNP

“Such powers are not universal for the whole PNP organization,” Año said, stressing that only the PNP director general, the chief of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and his deputy are authorized to issue subpoenas.

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The subpoena power was not given to the police at the precinct level “because the law might have considered that this will be only used in circumstances when witnesses refuse to cooperate with police investigation,” he added.

Besides, other law enforcement agencies such as the National Bureau of Investigation also have subpoena powers, so it was only fitting that the CIDG was granted a similar authority, Año added.

Indirect contempt

The police’s subpoena powers, which was removed upon the creation of the Philippine National Police in 1991, was restored through Republic Act (RA) No. 10973, signed by President Duterte on March 1.

RA 10973 also authorizes the PNP chief and the two top CIDG officials to cite a person who fails to comply with the subpoena in indirect contempt.

“Many cases filed with the prosecutor and the courts are dismissed for lack of or weak evidence. The grant of subpoena powers will strengthen the cases filed by the PNP,” Año said.

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TAGS: Department of the Interior and Local Government, Eduardo Año, Philippine news updates, police subpoena power
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