Creation of DNA database in PHL proposed

(Eagle News)–Senator Ronald dela Rosa is proposing the creation of a DNA database in the country to  help in the investigation and  resolution of crimes.

In filing Senate Bill No. 1577 or the Forensic DNA Database Act, Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police chief, said DNA technology has been used “to identify criminals with scientific accuracy when biological evidence exists.”

He said apart from identifying criminals, DNA analysis can be used to clear suspects and exonerate persons mistakenly accused or convicted of crimes.

Under the bill, the DNA database shall be known as the Philippine National Forensic DNA Database, and shall be under the Philippine National Police.

The bill said the database 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.

The PNP Crime Laboratory shall be responsible for the general conduct, administration and management of the DNA database, Dela Rosa’s bill said.

It said the Crime Lab shall also ensure that DNA profiles and information  remain confidential.

Under the bill, 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, shall also be created.

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

The bill also specifies sanctions for acts related to DNA.

According to 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.

Improper disclosure of DNA samples and records can lead to imprisonment of eight years and one day and a fine of not lower than P500,000 under the bill.

Those who shall also  unjustifiably refuse to give a non-intimate sample or obstruct the taking of a DNA sample shall be fined not more than P300,000 or be given 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.