Investigators from the 48 police stations in the province on Friday last week attended a seminar on DNA sample collection as part of the Bohol Provincial Police Office’s bid to boost crime solution.
At least 95 police investigators from all 47 towns and Tagbilaran City attended the DNA sample collection facilitated by Chief Insp. David Alexander Patriana, chief of Bohol Provincial Crime Laboratory Office, at the multi-purpose hall of Camp Dagohoy.
“It was the first out-of-greater Manila seminar on DNA sample collection as requested by the Aviation Security Group in Cebu,” Patriana said.
Patriana is a medical technologist by profession and rose through the ranks as a forensic chemical officer and now serves as DNA analyst of PNP-7 regional office assigned as provincial chief of the Bohol Provincial Crime Laboratory stationed at Camp Dagohoy.
The DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of a person “is the carrier of genetic information” and determinative of the “distinctive characteristics or qualities” of a person.
The seminar focused on DNA sampling to establish the profiles of arrested persons that will be documented for databasing since they had already established the procedure on the collection of evidence at the crime scene.
The DNA Branch of the Crime Laboratory of the PNP national headquarters at Camp Crame sent here, Police Chief Insp. Theresa Bodo and non-uniform personnel Victoria Grafil to train the police investigators in Bohol.
Patriana said it is important for the investigators to undergo such seminar as they are the ones who are in contact with the victims.
The seminar was also intended to prepare them for the plan to document the profiles of arrested persons and place them in database.
It is also a means to veer away from the limiting legal issue on the right against self-incrimination since it is “purely a mechanical procedure”.
“The right against self-incrimination covers testimonial compulsion only and the compulsion to produce real or physical evidence using the body of the accused.”
He explained that what they would apply is the buccal swab wherein “cells are collected from the cheeks of the persons arrested” as DNA samples.
This is in line with the 2015 directive of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) on the “collection of DNA samples from arrested person and persons under custody and registration of their DNA profiles into the PNP DNA Database”.
“Having in mind, the project of the DIDM, I started it here in Bohol. In Manila, they already started it because of their accessibility to the laboratory facilities. Here, we implemented it ahead though it is not yet disseminated throughout the country. Cebu will follow,” according to Patriana.
He also said investigators can efficiently deliver justice to the victims through crime solution if DNA samples are well preserved and profiling of the arrested persons through DNA database.
“If we have no standards, we cannot deliver justice to the victims. And it is important for our honor and commitment to service. If we do something, do it best. If you do your best, you do it right or you will just waste your effort. It is through crime solution that we deliver justice to the victims,” according to Patriana.
For her part, Bodo reminded the participants to “protect the samples from contamination or degradation to preserve its integrity” and to do their part “in order to maintain the integrity of the evidence”.
On the other hand, the PNP expanded its crime laboratory resources by establishing a new facility in 2012 that specializes “in forensic analysis of human genetic material such as may be found in strands of hair” as the PNP recognized the “increasing importance of DNA evidence in crime investigation”.
It was also in 2012 that the PNP opened its DNA Investigative and Research Center (DIRC) which assists “Crime Laboratory Technical Divisions and other investigative agencies in the identification of a person (using scientific methods) as well as a modern means of seeking justice and truth utilizing limited amounts of specimen obtained”.