Friday, April 17, 2009


I mentioned in my previous post how the police made a mess with the arrest of ABS-CBN broadcaster Ted Failon's driver and three house helpers in connection with the shooting of his late wife, Trinidad Arteche-Etong. As it is, public outrage not only from the Failon family but from public officials and other observers rained on the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) for the brusque and cavalier manner with which its personnel carried out the arrest of Failon's employees, which resulted in an immediate backlash with the relief of the cops involved.

Luckily, however, the sacked policemen's superior Chief Superintendent Franklin Mabanag came out of the incident unscathed despite his clear involvement in the fiasco and clear command responsibility. In one of the coverages by ABS-CBN's TV Patrol news on the arrest of Failon's employees, Mabanag was seen arguing with Failon's lawyer about the questionable arrest. When the lawyer asked Mabanag if the police have warrants for the four's arrest, Mabanag curtly replied that the four were arrested for violation of PD 1829 (law on obstruction of justice) for which arrest warrants were not necessary. Yes, you heard that right lawyers out there, Mabanag boldly declared that an arrest for PD 1829 requires no warrant.

Now, I am wondering where the heck Superintendent Mabanag got that ridiculous and grossly misinformed statement. I have yet to come across a law, a rule of procedure or jurisprudence - let alone an amendment to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution (it is true that cha-cha is being cooked but congress has yet to finalize it) - which says that little understood Marcos-era law has been added as one of the instances of a warrantless arrest under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. For emphasis, again let me enumerate (this time verbatimly) the instances of a valid warrantless arrest under Section 5, Rule 113:

"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. – A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. x x x"

Clearly, there is nothing in the foregoing that includes PD 1829 as an exception. One would also search in vain the provisions of PD 1829 and will find nothing that says an arrest under this statute requires no warrant. Besides, even assuming that PD 1829 says something to that effect, it would have been rendered unlawful already by the 1987 Constitution.

Philippine National Police Chief Versoza should immediately order the relief of Superintendent Mabanag as head of the QCPD Criminal Investigation Division and send him back to schooling to learn the rights of an accused person and basic criminal procedure. Better yet, Mabanag should act honorably by acknowledging his inexcusable mistake and voluntarily step down as an officer and a gentleman.

1 comment:

  1. Question: Is it ok for the Failon's to have cleaned up the evidences irregardless of the case being a suicide or a murder? Is there no consequence for this deed?