MANILA, Philippines — The chiefs of the Philippine National Police and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group may now issue subpoenas under a new law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 1.
Republic Act No. 10973 amends Republic Act No. 6975, or the Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, and allows the PNP chief and the director and deputy director for administration of the CIDG to “administer oath and issue subpoena and subpoena ad testificandum or subpoena duces tecum in relation to its investigation.”
“The subpoena shall state the nature and purpose of investigation, shall be directed to the person whose attendance is required, and in the case of a subpoena duces tecum, it shall contain a reasonable description of the books, documents, or things demanded which must be relevant to the investigation,” the law provides.
It adds: “Failure to comply with the subpoena and subpoena duces tecum shall authorize the filing of a case for indirect contempt under the Rules of Court with the Regional Trial Court.”
Last November, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate raised the alarm over the measure, which he said was prone to abuse.
“If enacted into law, with the current human rights situation in the country, this bill would grant additional powers to the PNP-CIDG that can be potentially subjected to abuse,” Zarate said.
The government has been widely criticized for the thousands of killings associated with Duterte’s war on drugs and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has opened a preliminary examination into the possibility he might be liable for a crime against humanity.