PNP opens DNA facility

Iris Hazel Mascardo (The Freeman) - October 20, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday inaugurated the first DNA facility outside Manila which the authorities hope would expedite the process of solving cases.

Police Brigadier General Steve Ludan, director of the PNP Crime Laboratory, said the DNA branch will be a support facility in order to hasten the pace of crime solution, since the pieces of evidence would no longer have to be brought to Manila for testing.

Ludan said the physical pieces of evidence are stronger than testimonial evidence and would create more impact in the investigation.

He said it would take two weeks to a month to test a "specimen." However, when these pieces of evidence will need to be transported to Manila, this would take more time due to the influx of the DNA materials that need testing.

"For the DNA equipment natin, it cost P20 to P30 million, including yung ating nga consumable items that are intended to make it operational.  And for the building, it is amounting to P50 million," said Ludan.

The DNA facility will be manned by PRO-7 Crime Laboratory personnel, chemists and medical technologists who underwent forensic schooling.

"Standalone na po ito. Kaya na i-process lahat dito sa facility.  This laboratory that is set up here in Cebu will also be catering to nearby police provinces and regional offices, instead of bringing these specimens in Manila," said Ludan.

Meanwhile, PRO-7 Director Albert Ignatius Ferro said the DNA facility is a 'welcome development' and he is hopeful that it would further expedite the resolution of cases.

"Kanang mga delayed na mga cases will now be catered by this office.  With that, we hope that we would have a faster solution over the case that we are handling," said Ferro.

Among those that will be prioritized in the DNA testing are the uncovered bodies found in a gravesite in Compostela. As three among the four bodies are yet to be identified as of this writing, Ferro said the DNA facility will be a big help to fast-track their identification.

To emphasize its efficiency, Ludan cited the Christine Silawan case in 2017 as an example wherein the scissors recovered in the crime scene were brought to Camp Crame for testing which, as a result, matched with the DNA of the jailed suspect, Renato Llenes.

Ludan said that DNA facility would play a vital role in the case investigation. — GAN (FREEMAN)

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