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IBP says arrest of 3 lawyers threatens rule of law

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SOUTHERN POLICE DISTRICT VIA PHILSTAR

THE INTEGRATED Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said the arrest of three lawyers in relation to a raid in a Makati bar suspected as an illegal drug trading venue “raises grave concerns for the rule of law in the Philippines.”

In a statement on Tuesday, IBP said, “The arrest and detention of three lawyers for alleged obstruction of justice and the filing of charges for ‘constructive possession’ of illegal drugs, when they had every right to represent their client and be present to observe and record the implementation of a search warrant, raises grave concerns for the rule of law in the Philippines.”

The IBP added, “Such treatment of lawyers erodes the Constitution’s guarantee of due process for every person — be they our son or daughter, teenagers who violated the curfew, or those suspected of committing a crime. Such treatment also violates the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.”

On August 11, Lawyers Romulo Bernard B. Alarcon, Lenie Rocel E. Rocha, and Jan Vincent S. Soliven were arrested during a sting operation at the Times Bar in Makati.

The police claimed that the lawyers disrespected and intimidated them.

IBP announced last week that they will file a petition for habeus corpus for the illegal detainment of the lawyers.

IBP President Abdiel Dan Elijah S. Fajardo said in an interview that even if the lawyers did disrespect and intimidate the police officers, these acts still do not constitute obstruction of justice “because if you read the law… there are specific actions that constitute obstruction of justice and none of that, not one of what the police general stated, qualified as obstruction of justice.” — Gillian M. Cortez





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