Senate OKs bill allowing PNP chief, CIDG execs to issue subpoenas

Camille Elemia

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Senator Panfilo Lacson says it is difficult for the investigative arm of the police to complete a probe without the power to summon people

SUBPOENA. The Senate approves on 3rd and final reading a bill seeking to allow the Philippine National Police chief and the top two officials of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to summon people in the conduct of a probe. File photo by Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate approved on 3rd and final reading a bill seeking to allow key Philippine National Police (PNP) officials to issue subpoenas connected to cases under investigation.

With a vote of 20-1, Senate Bill 1239 was passed on Monday, January 30, allowing the PNP chief, the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director, and the CIDG deputy director to issue subpoenas. Only Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto opposed the measure.

Senate public order committee chairman Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, authored and sponsored the bill.

Lacson said the powers of the PNP were somehow diluted when the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police were merged to form the present police force under Republic Act 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990.

He said most of the powers of the agencies then were carried over to the PNP except for the authority to issue subpoenas.

“It seems absurd that the Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU), now known as the CIDG, with a mandate to undertake monitoring, investigation, and prosecution of all crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly-placed or professional syndicates and organization, has lost its subpoena powers,” Lacson said in his sponsorship speech.

He added that this only leads to unfinished investigations and waste of government resources.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon agreed with Lacson, saying there is “every reason to grant such authority to the PNP chief who has control and supervision over lower-ranked officials, like the director and the deputy director of the CIDG.”

Lacson and Drilon both said the subpoena powers should be limited only to the 3 specified officials and that the authority may not be delegated to other officers.

A similar measure was filed in the House of Representatives but it is still pending in the committee level. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.