Guevarra: PNP right movant to perpetuate testimonies of witnesses
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday disclosed that perpetuation of testimony of material witnesses against so-called ‘ninja cops’ should be the initiative of the Philippine National Police.
Guevarra issued the statement in response to Sen. Richard Gordon’s call to perpetuate’ the testimonies of the Mexico, Pampanga police officers and barangay officials who first arrested suspected drug lord Johnson Lee to ensure that their testimonies are in if ever something happens to them.
“Perpetuating testimony entails the filing of a petition in court seeking to obtain the deposition of a material witness before a case is actually filed in court. In the context ot the DOJ reinvestigation of the so-called ‘ninja cops’ involved in the pampanga raid in 2013, the proper party to file such a petition at this time is the complainant PNP/CIDG,” Guevarra said in a statement.
He continued that should the Department of Justice finds probable cause against the ‘ninja cops’ during reinvestigation of the cases against them, all efforts to preserve the testimonies of witnesses would be exhausted.
“Should the DOJ eventually find probable cause against the respondents, the DOJ will consider all manner of preserving and perpetuating the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses, including depositions before or pending action,” Guevarra said.
Gordon underscored the need to perpetuate the testimonies of vital witnesses as a precautionary measure in case something bad happens to them.
“I just spoke with Secretary Menard (Guevarra) of DOJ and I asked him…I want their testimonies perpetuated kung sakaling (may mangyari sa kanila). It means that they will go to the court and give their affidavit there and if anything happens, hopefully not, that will be admissible in court,” Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon and justice committees, said.
“Para sa ganu’n nakakasiguro siya na whatever happens, if he dies accidentally, there is that testimony already that is admissible in court,” he said.
“That is just taking extraordinary diligence because the fact is they could be in danger. It is almost like a mafia story, ‘di ba? Tetepokin mo ang testigo e ‘di mawawala na ang cover-up o tatakutin,” he added.