January 25, 2017
PANGILINAN BATS FOR MANDATORY AUTOPSY IN SUSPICIOUS DEATH CASES
MANILA -- To help solve the reported daily killings that have claimed more than 7,000 lives, mandatory forensic autopsies should be conducted on bodies of crime victims and in deaths that occur under mysterious or suspicious circumstances, said Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Wednesday as he filed the Mandatory Autopsy Bill.
In the explanatory note of Senate Bill 1307, Pangilinan said: "The paramount interest of the State to prosecute criminal actions should not be frustrated by malevolent designs to erase the corpus delicti -- the body of the crime itself -- to escape liability (Pangunahing interes ng Estado na habulin ang mga maysala sa krimen. At dapat biguin ng Estado ang may masasamang-balak na burahin ang mismong katawan ng krimen para wala silang pananagutan)."
"By compelling forensic autopsies, the State can accomplish what the deceased can no longer do --- point the finger at the perpetuator of the crime. After all, while dead men tell no tales, dead bodies certainly do. Thus, the passage of this bill is earnestly sought (Kapag requirement na ang forensic autopsies, maaaring makamit ng Estada ang hindi kayang gawin ng namatay na -- ang ituro ang maysala. Bagamat wala ng ma-i-kwe-kwento ang patay, meron ang bangkay. Kaya hinihiling namin ang pagpasa ng panukalang batas na ito)," the Liberal Party president added.
News reports indicate that since the start of the Duterte administration in July, government's daily execution of its war on drugs has taken over 7,000 lives, or an average of more than 30 suspected drug users, pushers, and even bystander "collateral damage" killed every day by either law enforcers or unidentified gunmen.
Senate Bill 1307 seeks mandatory autopsy in 12 instances, including:
1. deaths resulting from commission of crimes;
2. deaths occurring under suspicious circumstances;
3. deaths occurring as a result of violence or trauma; any death wherein the body is unidentified or unclaimed;
4. deaths known or suspected as due to contagious disease and constituting a public hazard;
5. deaths occurring in prison or a penal institution or while in the custody of the police; and
6. deaths of persons whose bodies are to be cremated, buried at sea, or otherwise disposed of so as to be thereafter unavailable for examination
Pangilinan said these mandatory autopsies are meant to identify the deceased, and know the approximate time of death, the direction and proximate cause of death, and other conclusions which may be required during the trial of the case.
"In the examination of the body, evidence useful in reconstructing the crime scene can be discovered, thereby assisting the investigators in determining the real cause and circumstances surrounding the death of the victim.
Under the bill, results of autopsies shall remain confidential to the investigating body and to the next of kin except upon lawful order of the court. "Layunin nating makamit ng mga biktima ng krimen at ng kanilang mga pamilya ang katarungan (We wish justice for crime victims and their families)," Pangilinan added.
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