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Dialogue between Prosecutors and Police Investigators from Northern Mindanao Region

The Hanns Seidel Foundation has a long-standing partnership with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Philippine National Police (PNP) and is glad to support this project between the two organisations.  The objective is to strengthen the communication between prosecutors and police investigators, members of the two of the five pillars of the criminal justice system, as this involves the DOJ National Prosecution Service (NPS) and the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM).

Dialogue activities in the Northern Mindanao Region

From 2017 to 2019, a series of dialogue activities between prosecutors from the cities and provinces comprising Northern Mindanao and their counterpart law enforcement officers from the Police Regional Office No. 10 were conducted.

Initially, the objectives of the dialogue centred on changing the perception of the police investigators and the prosecutors into regarding each other as belonging to the same team.  The activities sought to help deepen their understanding of one another’s work and the role each has in law-enforcement-and-prosecution as a whole, thereby contributing to the strengthening of the linkage between Law Enforcement and Prosecution, two of the five pillars of the Philippine criminal justice system.

HSF PH

Changing needs, evolving approaches

In 2018, the activities began to take on a thematic approach.  To address serious topical issues, the participants invited to the dialogue activities eventually extended to include chiefs of offices, as well as officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Women and Children Police Desks, Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit, Environment and Natural Resources Office.  Representatives from the regional offices of the government line agencies concerned, including Social Welfare and Development Officers and Environment and Natural Resource officers, also took part in specific dialogue activities.

By the end of 2019, twenty-five dialogue sessions had been held.  Moreover, two Top-Level Policy Dialogue activities took place in Manila, with the last one in November 2019 participated in by then DOJ Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra and the then Chief of the Philippine National Police, Police General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa.  Due to the positive results, suggestions to expand the activities and hold dialogues at the national level and to include another region in the country came under consideration.

Further, representatives from the DOJ-NPS, their counterparts in law enforcement, along with representatives from their respective Northern Mindanao Region offices participated in an information and exchange visit to Germany during which they met with Bavarian State Prosecutors and Bavarian Police Investigators, and exchanged experiences and views on how to further strengthen working relations between prosecutors and police investigators.

Building on gains

In the 2020-2022 project cycle, after a pause due to the global health situation that prevailed beginning March 2020, the regular holding of dialogue activities continued in June 2022.  Three were conducted in Cagayan de Oro and one, in the Province of Bukidnon.  In the dialogue held in November 2022, the “Handbook of Crimes with Bail Bond Guide (2022 Edition),” which came about as a result of the continuing dialogue activities in the region since 2017, was launched.  It was drafted by the region’s NPS team for prosecution and law enforcement to have a common material for use as reference in their conduct of investigations and filing of cases.  The publication contains the list of crimes punishable by The Revised Penal Code of 1930 and special laws, recommended bail bond, elements of common crimes, and table of penalties. 

These activities were supplemented by meetings held on the occasion of visits of experts from the Bavarian Police in which insights on the collaboration between police investigators and prosecutors towards the successful investigation and prosecution of cases were exchanged, and experiences, shared, with prosecutors and police investigators in Manila and in Regions 7 and 10.

Moving forward

Through the continued conduct of the dialogue activities, the prosecutors and the police investigators have increasingly become even more engaged and proactive, such that they offer ways to help resolve issues during the dialogue activities and discuss solutions to address challenges and work out problems.  Future sessions are expected to be adapted to the cooperation and coordination needs of prosecutor and law enforcement officer participants and help both to harmonise their collaboration and become even more responsive and proactive pillars of the justice system in the country.

The results of the dialogue sessions will be synthesized and provided to the Head of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) and the Chief of the Philippine National Police in order to contribute to possible policy reform requested by the prosecution and law enforcement.