Robredo slams arrest of lawyers in controversial crack of Makati
Kristine Joy Patag (philstar.com) – August 20, 2018 – 7:27 pm
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Vice-President Leni Robredo gave an alarm on Monday about the arrest of three lawyers who held the search of the police in a bar in Makati.
Robredo, in a statement, said the arrest of lawyers Lenie Rocha, Jan Vincent Soliven and Romulo Bernard Alarcon is a matter that not only relates to the legal community, but every Filipino.
"The [Philippine National Police’s] claiming that the accountability of law enforcement officers for rules and proper procedures can not be raised in the framework of police activities, but only in legal proceedings that arise after the fact is a dangerous way of thinking that dramatically increases the chance of abuse and gives the guarantee of impunity, "said the vice president.
Makati agents held on Thursday afternoon the three lawyers for obstruction of the law. They claimed that the lawyers "entered the bar premises, took various photos & videos of the scene and intimidated the members of the search team."
The police brought the lawyers late in the afternoon from the city to the Makati City Hall – after more than 24 hours of detention – and filed criminal counteractions. The lawyers are accused of "constructive possession" of illegal drugs.
The vice president said: "That some members of our police now feel that they can delete claims to legal rights and fair justice and intimidation and intimidation of those who claim them – even if they are lawyers who fulfill their duties, and thus are clothed with authority as officials of the court – by verbal statements, physical restraint and the threat of later criminal liability, is an indication of an alarming erosion of constitutional protec- tions and the rule of law. "
She also said that if lawyers – like themselves – "can be treated with such official contempt", what can happen when "less informed, less powerful Filipinos" are subjected to abuse by government agents. "
Robredo urged her fellow lawyers to stay with Rocha, Soliven and Alarcon.
"I also call on all citizens to add their voices and express their concerns, their alarms, their dropouts, so that everyone knows that the free Filipinos will not let the least relapse into tyranny," added the vice president.
Lawmakers and lawyer groups have criticized the arrest of the three lawyers. The Human Rights Commission, for its part, sent a fast response team to investigate the incident.
But on Monday, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde presented the police who were involved in the controversial bar raid with a prize.
Albayalde also stressed that the police operate on a suspicion of regularity, adding that the Makati police must have "compelling reasons" to arrest the lawyers.
He added that the PNP would provide legal assistance to the police if counter-charges were to be filed against them.