Subpoenas intended for 'wealthy' and 'well-learned' – PNP CIDG chief

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Allaying fears that their new subpoena powers are anti-poor, Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Roel Obusan said the documents will primarily be used against "the well-learned" and the "wealthy."

"Based on statistics, there are more high-profile cases committed by wealthy or well-learned individuals, because street criminals are usually not high-profile cases but petty crimes. So this is intended more on the well-learned and wealthy," Obusan said in a Camp Crame press conference on Monday, March 12.

Context: President Rodrigo Duterte recently returned the powers of the PNP to issue subpoenas through the PNP chief and the CIDG's top two officials.

The document orders its recipient to present himself to a venue to testify and/or present evidence. This has raised fears that the PNP will use its new powers haphazardly in its ongoing intensified campaigns against illegal drugs, terrorism, and insurgency, with the poor supposedly left most defenseless. (READ: No rules to issue subpoenas, 'conscience' is enough – PNP chief Dela Rosa)

LOOK: PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa and CIDG chief Roel Obusan leads today’s press briefing."> — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong)"> March 12, 2018" charset="utf-8">


How to target the wealthy? With subpoena powers limited to PNP chief and the CIDG's top 2, Obusan said cases they will sign are bound to be limited to "high-profile" and "sensational" cases, with suspects usually coming from higher economic classes.

Small cases asking for a subpoena have no place in the office of the CIDG, and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa said that he will only limit his signature to "extreme cases."

Aside from high-profile crimes, the CIDG is mandated to tackle high-impact crimes like economic sabotage and severe violations of the Penal Code. Petty crimes are mandated to fall under local police stations.

"The PNP has no fear or favor, what matters is the dispensation of justice and justice is for all," Obusan added. –

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.