‘Bato’ proposes creation of DNA database for crime investigation

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A bill has been filed in the Senate seeking to establish a forensic DNA database in the country to help in the investigation and expeditious resolution of crimes by providing a reliable method of identification.

Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who introduced Senate Bill No. 1577 or the proposed Forensic DNA Database Act, said DNA technology has been scientifically proven to be an invaluable tool in the identification of a person and has been used in establishing the identity and prosecution of criminals.

“It can be used to identify criminals with scientific accuracy when biological evidence exists,” Dela Rosa said. Apart from identifying criminals, Dela Rosa said DNA analysis could also be used to clear suspects and exonerate persons mistakenly accused or convicted of crime.

He said having a DNA database has other uses such as establishing paternity and other family relationships and the identification of disaster victims and missing persons.

Dela Rosa said the DNA database, which shall be known as the Philippine National Forensic DNA Database, shall be under the Philippine National Police (PNP). He said the DNA shall contain profiles of persons classified under the following indices: crime scene suspects, arrested persons, convicted offenders, detainee, law enforcement and military personnel, elimination persons, missing persons, unidentified human remains, and voluntary persons.

Under the bill, the PNP Crime Laboratory shall be responsible for the management of the DNA database and shall ensure that DNA profiles and information are securely stored and remain confidential.

The bill also seeks to create a national DNA database scientific advisory committee which shall develop a DNA testing database quality assurance standard for DNA testing and data basing, including standards for testing the proficiency of forensic laboratories and forensic analysts conducting forensic DNA analysis.

The committee shall be composed of nine members — three representatives from the PNP, two from the National Bureau of Investigation, one each from Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Health, and two representatives from other government agencies or institutions actively engaged in forensic DNA testing. It shall be headed by an official of the PNP.

Under the bill, any person found guilty of tampering, abetting or attempting to tamper DNA records and samples face imprisonment of 12 years and one day and a fine of not less than P600,000. Imprisonment of eight years and one day and a fine of not lower than P500,000 shall be slapped on any person for improper disclosure of DNA samples and records.

The proposed law also provides that any person who shall unjustifiably refuse to give non-intimate sample or obstruct the taking of DNA sample shall be liable to a fine of not more than P300,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six years or both.

“This bill will provide the statutory authority for the creation of a forensic National DNA Database in the country that will greatly contribute to the investigation and expeditious resolution of crimes, providing a reliable method of identification,” Dela Rosa said.

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