No rules to issue subpoenas, ‘conscience’ is enough – PNP chief Dela Rosa

Rambo Talabong
No rules to issue subpoenas, ‘conscience’ is enough – PNP chief Dela Rosa
(UPDATED) The PNP refuses to put guidelines on issuing subpoenas

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) apparently does not need internal rules in issuing subpoenas.

Konsensya lang ‘ninyo. Hindi na kailangan pa ng rules diyan, dahil nasabi na sa batas: either or sa amin ang batas. Konsensyahan naman iyan eh. Kung kinakailangan, gamitin, kung hindi, ‘wag,” Dela Rosa said in a Camp Crame news briefing on Monday, March 12.

(It depends on your conscience. Rules are not needed there, because the law already said it’s either or for us. It’s a matter of conscience, really. If you need it, use it, if not, don’t.)

The PNP chief was pressed by reporters whether they would issue calculated guidelines in issuing subpoenas, just as they have done with most police operations and campaigns. (READ: How the ‘new’ Oplan Tokhang should be done)

Subpoenas order people to present themselves to a venue to testify or present documents or evidence.

What the law says: The recently signed Republic Act 10973, which gave subpoena powers to the PNP chief and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s top 2 officials, only sets a short list of limits.

  • That subpoena powers of the above-mentioned officials are non-transferrable 
  • That the subpoena must be issued for an ongoing investigation
  • The subpoena must contain the “nature and purpose of the investigation”
  • Subpoena duces tecum must contain “a reasonable description” of documents and evidence ordered

Why this matters: Conscience cannot hold the PNP chief or the top two of the CIDG liable if abuses are committed in issuing the powerful document. 

Without guidelines, the PNP does not have hardline standards on when it is unnecessary to issue a subpoena. (READ: Why PNP’s new subpoena powers threaten our rights) –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.