Palace backs police act vs 3 lawyers of raided establishment in Makati
Malacanang is backing the action of the police in detaining and filing of charges against the three young lawyers during the anti-drug search in a bar in Makati City last week.
In a press briefing on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said lawyers Romulo Alarcon, Jan Vincent Soliven, and Lenie Rocha should take a refresher course on criminal procedure for meddling in the ongoing police investigation.
"Now, there are videos available on the internet on what happened. If you ask me as a law professor, they need?those three lawyers need a refresher course on criminal procedure. Lawyers have absolutely no involvement in an ongoing police investigation. Their role is when there is already a pending action in the Prosecutor’s Office, if there is anything that was wrong in the police investigation, then they can allege this either in the determination of probable cause or in the trial itself," he said.
Roque said the three lawyers, who reportedly were representing one of the owners of the Time bar, also failed to initially identify who they were representing.
"And what business did they have being in the area, being where the search warrant was being served, without being identifying who their client was? That’s ridiculous. You do not acquire a right to be in a police investigation, just because you claim to be representing a client that you don’t want to divulge," Roque explained.
The Makati police filed complaints of obstruction of justice, resistance and disobedience to authority, violation of a city ordinance, and constructive possession of illegal drugs against the three lawyers before the Makati City's Prosecutor Office last Friday.
But the Commission on Human Rights has criticized the police action, saying it was an utter disrespect not only of the law profession but also of the constitutionally enshrined rights.
CHR has said it emboldened other law enforcement agencies and puts at risk ordinary Filipino citizens.
Roque said the incident happened when it was the second operation at the Time bar. During the first operation it yielded positive for drugs.
"And the information I got was the lawyers were preventing the policemen from going to an upper floor where the vault was and obviously they had the right to go to the upper floor because they had a validly issued search warrant. So when you prevent a police from affecting the service of a search warrant, in my mind that’s really obstruction of justice," he added.
He noted that the police involved in the operation even received an award from the Philippine National Police leadership.
The three lawyers were released after 24 hours of detention. Celerina Monte/DMS