Etong case a ‘wake-up call’ – PNP

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE controversy generated by the cleaning of the crime scene at the house of ABS-CBN broadcaster Ted Failon should serve as a “wake-up call” for the public who by now should know that tampering with a crime evidence is a grave offense that could land them in jail, a senior Philippine National Police official said yesterday.

“That should really serve as a wake-up call for the public. Dapat malaman ng tao kung ano ang dapat gawin o hindi dapat gawin sa isang crime scene,” said Chief Superintendent Reynaldo S. Rafal, deputy director of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management.

Rafal said there is a clear need to preserve evidence in a crime scene contrary to what the household staff of Failon did shortly after the ex-Leyte congressman’s dying wife Trinidad “Trina” Etong was taken to the New Era General Hospital in Quezon City.

“Hindi dapat linisin ang dugo, hindi dapat damputin ang basyo ng bala o ang weapon used, hindi dapat baguhin ang ayos ng biktima, mga upuan o other fixtures sa scene,” Rafal said.

The one-star general said first responders in any crime scene — often local barangay and police officials — have the obligation to preserve the crime scene and bring the victim to the hospital if he or she is still alive.

In the absence of a police line he said that first responders may improvise or use ropes or strings to keep unauthorized persons away from the scene.

He said that first responders should also wait for the scene-of-the- crime-operatives or SOCO teams from the PNP Crime Laboratory who are given the special task of collecting evidence and photographing of the scene.

“Talagang mahirap pag tampered ang crime scene pero me kakayahan naman ang Crime Lab natin na ire-construct ito,” Rafal said.

Rafal also emphasized that persons who refuse to give statement to the police or who clean a crime scene can be charged with obstruction of justice.

“Hindi talaga dapat gumagawa ng action to alter any investigation lalo na yung lilinisin ang crime scene o ayaw magbigay ng statement sa pulisya,” he said.

He said the penalty for obstruction of justice depends on the gravity of the act committed by an individual.