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THE FORENSIC CHEMISTRY DIVISION OF NBI

The Forensic Chemistry Division (FCD) of National Bureau of Investigation is one of the
laboratory services that provide timely and accurate scientific, technical, and investigative support to
the criminal justice system through forensic analysis. The services of the Forensic Chemistry are
available to all national and local law enforcement agencies in the Philippines for the purpose of
rendering assistance in criminal investigations and judicial proceedings.

The FCD maintains six laboratory sections in Manila each providing specialty and expertise in the
fields of Forensic Chemistry. FCD provide services in the collection and preservation of evidence,
reconstruction of major crime scenes, scientific examinations of the said physical evidences and expert
testimony regarding the scientific examinations in court.

The six FCD laboratory sections of NBI include the following:

1. Research and Instrumentation


2. Dangerous Drugs Section
3. Toxicology Section
4. Physics Section
5. Chemistry Section
6. Biology and DNA Section

The FCD laboratory are composed of Forensic Chemists, Biologist, Toxicologists, Analysts, Technician
who conduct the collection, preservation, forensic examinations of physical evidences in which they are
required to testify with respect to the methods and conclusions at a trial or hearing in court.

THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE

Evidence is anything that tends to prove or disprove a point under investigation. Under the rules
of Court, Evidence is defined as the means, sanctioned by this rules of ascertaining in a judicial
proceeding the truth respecting a matter of fact. Physical evidence is any material that has been develop
significantly in a crime scene. It is anything that has material existence and may be used to establish the
nature of an offense or to establish the identity of a perpetrator and may be presented to the view of
the court for proper consideration. It can be of any size and can be in a state of gas, solid, or liquid. It
can occur in the form of patterns or objects. The physical evidence that may be found in the crime scene
including blood, stains, body fluids, hair, fiber, weapons, soil, tool marks, shoe print, fingerprints, tire
impression, paints, glass, vehicles, wood, accelerants, ignition devices, explosive materials, etc. A
physical evidence sample that is collected in the crime scene is called questioned sample or the
unknown sample. To establish a connection a connection between questioned sample and particular
person/place is to secure a known sample and standard sample from relevant sample/place for
comparison.

There are two kinds of physical evidence. The fixed and the movable. The fixed physical
evidences or transient evidences are those that cannot be moved and/or impossible to collect in its
entirety for presentation in court. Example of which are footprints in soil, tire marks or tool marks and
writings on fixed subject. The movable physical evidences are those that can be moved and can be
presented in court in its original form. Example of which are documentary evidence, fingerprints,
firearms, glass fractures, hairs, fibers, drug samples, food products and other materials that can be
moved.

The integrity of the evidence must be maintained at all times. The Forensic Chemist must
account for each pieces of evidence from its recovery, collection, documentation, transit, packaging,
preservation, analysis, and storage until it is submitted to a court trial. Follow protocol when collecting
and preserving evidence. If the proper techniques are not used, evidence maybe contaminated, dislodge
and broken and ruled inadmissible in court. It is practical that the trained Forensic Chemist must do the
collection and preservation of the physical evidence because they will be the ones who will conduct the
forensic analysis of the said evidence. With their capabilities they can make logical decisions when the
uncommon and the unexpected are encountered in the crime scene. It will yield significant results in
ascertaining the nature and circumstances of a crime.

THE PROCESSING OF THE CRIME SCENE

The recovery of physical evidence during an investigation is one of the most important aspects
of law enforcement. The search for physical evidence at a crime scene must be thorough and
systematic. Often, the success and failure of an investigation and whether a case is brought to trial
depends on the collected and preserved evidences and the descriptive information derived from crime
scene. A planned, coordinated and legal search must be observed in the location, collection and
preservation of evidences.

The Forensic Chemist and Technician need to wear a sterile suit or personal protective
equipment (PPE) covering his body, hair, and shoes to prevent him from contaminating the evidence. At
almost every crime scene, he will wear latex gloves and change them often during the evidence
collection process to safeguard and protect them from contamination, harmful bacteria and toxic debris.
He will wear mask to protect him from any unnecessary odors he might breath in.

The Forensic Chemist and Technician should carefully collect the most fragile evidence first,
before disturbing the scene by removing larger, heavier, or less fragile evidence. Otherwise, he should
begin by systematically collecting the top layer of evidence, allowing him to then memorialize or
photograph what he finds beneath the evidence. He should collect evidence in a sterile, careful, and
precise manner, using sterile instruments, such as tweezers.

The following must be done

a. Establish a headquarter for communication and decision making of crime search with the team
which includes the investigators, forensic chemists, technicians, photographer and
artist/sketcher.
b. Ensure the awareness of duties and responsibilities of each personnel of the team in the search.
c. Secure and isolate the crime scene.
d. Release the crime scene after the final survey.
e. Record and sketch the scene.
f. Conduct a systematic search for evidence and be alert in securing each evidence and take
extensive notes.
g. Have all the location and evidences photographed.
h. Seal all evidence packages and label them properly.
i. Ensure all materials and evidences are retrieved.

Collection and Preservation of Physical Evidences