Press Release
August 18, 2018

Drilon condemns arrest of, filing of charges vs lawyers in bar raid, calls it 'patently unlawful'

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Saturday called the filing of charges against lawyers of a raided bar in Makati by police authorities "a manifestation of a worsening culture of impunity in the Philippine National Police (PNP)" and "patently unlawful and arbitrary."

"As a lawyer and former justice secretary, I condemn in the strongest terms the intimidation of the legal profession. The arrest of the three lawyers is not only an assault against the country's legal profession, but also a blatant display of disrespect against our entire justice system," Drilon said.

"If they can arrest, intimidate and threaten lawyers who are merely performing their sacred oath of protecting the rights of their clients, then we can just imagine what they do to ordinary citizens and the likes of Kian Delos Santos," Drilon said.

"Such action poses threats on the rule of law, a basic pillar of our democracy," Drilon stressed.

On Friday, the Makati police filed charges for "constructive possession" of dangerous drugs against the three lawyers, namely Jan Vincent Soliven, Lenie Rocel Rocha and Romulo Bernard Alarkon, who they earlier arrested during a raid of a bar suspected of being a drug den.

"It is very troubling to see law enforcement arresting and detaining lawyers who were legitimately exercising their duties as officers of the Court," Drilon said.

He said there is no law nor jurisprudence which authorizes the arrest of lawyers for "pressuring" policemen during the conduct of a search warrant.

Drilon said: "It is very disturbing that the police's behavior has become brazen each day, which seriously erodes the public's trust on our criminal justice system.

The minority leader said he fully supports the Integrated Bar of the Philippine in its defense of the members of the legal community.

"I completely support all efforts by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and other parties in defending and in fighting actions that weaken our justice system," Drilon said.

Drilon then asked the PNP leadership should reflect on their role and behavior in order to restore the trust of the people on the institution.

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