House probe sought on arrest of 3 lawyers in Makati bar raid

MANILATwo lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Wednesday filed a resolution calling for a congressional inquiry on the arrest of three lawyers during a search at a bar in Makati City.

1-Ang Edukasyon Partylist Rep. Salvador Belaro and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon filed House Resolution 2086, which directs the House committees on justice and good government and public accountability to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the "highly irregular incident."

"We in the House of Representatives would like to ascertain if the said irregular incident has serious implication on the observance of basic constitutional rights especially the right to counsel, rights under custodial investigation and right to due process," Belaro said.

Belaro noted that the lawyers, who are officers of the court, are only at the scene of the raid to perform their duties as counsels of the said establishment.

"In the event said lawyers' presence in the said raid is found out to be only for the fulfillment of their duties as officers of the court, a recurrence of said irregularity should never be countenanced because of its chilling effect on the rule of law," Belaro said.

Last week, Makati policemen arrested three lawyers identified as Lenie Rocel Rocha, Jan Vincent Soliven, and Romulo Bernard Alarkon for allegedly intimidating them during the conduct of a search at the Time in Manila Bar in Makati City that resulted in the seizure of several sachets of illegal drugs.

The policemen filed complaints against the three lawyers for obstruction of justice, resistance and disobedience to authorities and violation of a city ordinance against civilians crossing a police line, and "constructive possession of illegal drugs."

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the police have always been working closely with members of the legal profession who opt to "guide and help" police in the orderly administration of justice.

While recognizing lawyers' roles in protecting their clients, the PNP chief urged them "not to intimidate" policemen enforcing a court order.

Albayalde also vowed to provide legal assistance to the policemen if they are charged for the arrest of the lawyers.

He also said the policemen enjoy a "presumption of regularity" in the exercise of their duties and had "acted with good reason" in acting against the lawyers. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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