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

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.

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) –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.