MAKATI CITY, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) believes that the three lawyers involved in a bar raid incident in Makati City committed no obstruction of justice as alleged by the Makati Police.
On Tuesday (August 21), the Makati Police filed constructive possession of illegal drugs and obstruction of justice charges against lawyers Leni Rocha, Jan Vincent Soliven and Romulo Alarcon.
The three, who legally represents the owners of the establishment, were accused of allegedly attempting to destroy the pieces of evidence when the bar was being raided.
Police also stated in the affidavit of arrest that the lawyers harassed, disrespected and intimidated the law enforcers during the conduct of the search.
“Granting that to be true kung totoo man po iyon, although sa tingin namin malabo iyon dahil siyempre, may uneven distribution of forces din. Maraming pulis, armado sila, mahirap po yata ng ganoon ang sitwasyon…Sila ba ay lumunok ng ebidensya? Did they tear up pieces of paper? How constituted evidence as to enable the police to prosecute the evidence in the search warrant. So wala po kaming ganyang allegations,” argued Atty. Abdiel Fajardo, the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Based on Presidential Decree Number 1829, obstruction of justice refers to preventing witnesses, destroying documents or evidence that will resolve the case and presentation of fake documents which will delay the resolution of the case.
Malacañang earlier said the arrested lawyers should take a refresher course to acknowledge the do’s and don’t’s during the conduct of a police probe.
While Senator Panfilo Lacson urged the public in a statement to give the presumption of regularity to the police.
But the IBP insisted that the matter remains a cause of concern.
“Kung ganyan pala ang template, kung obstruction na ngayon ang standard ng mga agents of the law, ay talagang mahihirapan na po iyung mg ataong in distress ano o iyong mga clients who would want to call their lawyers to assist them,” Fajardo said.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and other lawyers organizations, on the other hand, vow to look into the incident. – Mai Bermudez / Marje Pelayo