Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the arrest of lawyers for reportedly disrupting a raid of an alleged drug hotspot in Makati City shows a worse culture of impunity in the police ranks.
“[It is] a manifestation of a worsening culture of impunity in the Philippine National Police [and is] patently unlawful and arbitrary,” Drilon said in a statement Saturday.
Authorities earlier arrested three lawyers whom it said illegally took photos and videos and threatened officers with PO1 rank during a police inspection at the Time Bar.
“As a lawyer and former justice secretary, I condemn in the strongest terms the intimidation of the legal profession,” Drilon said.
He said if the police could “intimidate and threaten” lawyers, the public could only imagine what they could do to ordinary citizens like Kian Delos Santos, referring to the 17-year-old allegedly killed by the police in an anti-drug operation in 2017.
The arrest was “not only an assault against the country’s legal profession but also a blatant display of disrespect against our entire justice system,” Drilon decried.
There is no law that allows the arrest of lawyers for “pressuring” policemen during an inspection, he added.
The Senator further said he supports the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and other groups fighting against actions that weaken the country’s justice system.
The Southern Police District earlier defended its officers and said it has properly advised the lawyers to exit from the establishment during the raid but proceeded to arrest them when they ignored the warning.
The lawyers were released from police custody on Friday night.
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