AS part of the Philippine National Police’s strict adherence to human rights, members of the 160,000-strong police force have been told anew that failure to observe the standard reading of the Miranda Rights to a person being arrested for a crime could lead to the dismissal of the case on technicality and even send an officer to a minimum 10 years in prison.
Taking note of the number of persons including Asians and other foreigners being arrested for various felonies in the country, the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office headed by Chief Superintendent Dennis A. Siervo has also translated the Miranda Warning to 10 local dialects and four foreign languages ready to be recited to the offenders by the police.
Apart from the 10 local dialects, the Miranda Warning which is originally in English has been translated to Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese and Japanese languages and can be downloaded by the police in their smartphones for easy understanding of the persons being placed under arrest, whether they are Filipinos or foreigners, said Siervo.
As part of its program to have a professional police organization, the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office also emphasized that failure to recite the “New Miranda” and “Anti-Torture” Warning will lead to the dismissal of the case against the suspect and filling of administrative case against the arresting police.
Republic Act No. 7438 or the Act ‘defining certain rights of person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation as well as the duties of the arresting, detaining and investigation officers, and providing penalties for violations thereof’ states the following penalty clause:
“Any arresting public officer or employee, or any investigating officer, who fails to inform any person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice, shall suffer a fine of six thousand pesos (P6,000) or a penalty of imprisonment of not less than eight (8) years but not more than ten (10) years, or both.’
Section 4 of RA 7438 which took effect in 1992 also states that ‘the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification shall also be imposed upon the investigating officer who has been previously convicted of a similar offense.’
The same penalties shall be imposed upon a public officer or employee, or anyone acting upon orders of such investigating officer or in his place, who fails to provide a competent and independent counsel to a person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation for the commission of an offense if the latter cannot afford the services of his own counsel.
The PNP leadership headed by Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa has reiterated that the reading of the Miranda Warning to a person being arrested is a required procedure in the police force as part of its strict adherence to human rights.
Siervo said they translated the Miranda Rights to Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese languages in the wake of the growing number of nationals from China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan being arrested for various offenses including cybercrimes and drugs in the country.
Miranda Doctrine contains the words: “You have the right to remain silent. Any statement you make may be used against you in a court of law in the Philippines. You have the right to have a competent and independent counsel preferably of your own choice. If you cannot afford the services of a counsel, the government will provide you one. Do you understand these rights?”
The PNP leadership has ordered all its officers and men to memorize the words contained in the Miranda Warning like the national anthem and practice it while accosting a crime offender.
The PNP also emphasized that the Miranda Doctrine should be read as the situation allows since the arresting officer should secure himself and the one being arrested first before he reads the doctrine to the suspect. It means that the cop should have already restrained the suspect and is sure that he and the suspect are in safe condition or free from any other threats before reading the suspect’s rights.
A classic case of the need to read the Miranda Rights involved some members of the Quezon City Police District who were involved in the investigation of the shooting to death of the wife of ABS-CBN broadcaster Ted Failon (Teodoro Etong in real life) in May 2009.
The policemen led by then Senior Superintendent Franklin Moises Mabanag filed their motion to junk the criminal charges filed against them for the alleged illegal detention of the sister-in-law and four house helpers of the popular radio-television personality before the sala of Judge Marie Christine Jacob.