Education & Training

The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law
and the Office of International Programs

The Impact of DNA Evidence In Addressing Human Rights Issues in the Philippines and Other Uses of DNA Worldwide

January 23, 2006
Stetson University College of Law, The Great Hall, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL

Dr. Maria Corazon A. De Ungria is currently Head of the DNA Analysis Laboratory, Natural Sciences Research Institute at the University of the Philippines. The DNA Analysis Laboratory is promoting the development of forensic DNA technology in the Philippines through research and the conduct of DNA testing in actual cases. In 2005, the laboratory’s project ‘Research, Training and Extension Service for forensic DNA Testing in the Philippines’ which was funded from 2001-2004 under the Human Rights and Democracy in Asia Budget of the European Commission was selected as ‘Best Practice’.

One major objective of the project was to study the feasibility of post-Conviction DNA tests in the Philippines. In 2004, the laboratory‘proposal ‘Incorporating DNA Evidence in The Resolution of Sexual Assault Cases in the Philippines’ was selected for funding by the World Bank in its program ‘Development Innovate Marketplace: Making Services Work for the Poor’ from over 1800 proposals nationwide.

Dr. De Ungria’s work was recognized by the National Academy of Science and Technology by selecting her as one of the Outstanding Young Scientists (OYS) in 2003. In 2005, Dr. De Ungria was awarded the Gerry Roxas Leadership award and named as one of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) by the Philippine Jaycees Inc.

Mr. Chris Asplen joined the law firm of Smith Alling Lane in 2002. A former Assistant United States Attorney in Washington DC, Mr. Asplen was appointed the Executive Director of the United States Attorney General’s National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence in 1998. Its mission was to maximize the value of DNA in the criminal justice system.

As Executive Director of the Commission, Mr. Asplen worked closely with both Attorney Generals Reno and Ashcroft to develop DNA policy for the Department of Justice. He testified before Congress to help appropriate over $160 million for forensic DNA testing. He has also testified before numerous state and city legislative bodies and presented at over 100 national and international conferences. He has appeared on various national and international news and information broadcasts such as CNN and 60 Minutes.

Mr. Asplen also has extensive experience training law enforcement investigators and prosecutors about DNA. Prior to joining the United States Attorney’s Office, he was the Director of the DNA unit of the National District Attorney’s Association where he trained prosecutors and law enforcement officers on the effective use of DNA technology to solve and prosecute crimes.

In August 2001, he received the United States Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Safety.