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Complaint vs 3 lawyers arrested in Makati bar raid dismissed

/ 04:02 PM February 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Makati City Prosecutors Office has dismissed the complaint against three lawyers who were arrested last year for interfering with the implementation of a search warrant conducted by the Makati Police at Times Bar.

In a 14-page resolution, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati cleared lawyers Lenie Rocel Rocha, Jan Vincent Soliven, and Romulo Bernard Alarkon of obstruction of justice, violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code for resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, and constructive possession of drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

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The resolution which was signed by Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Romel Odronia and approved by Deputy City Prosecutor Henry Salazar said the complaint filed by the Makati Police’s Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) should be dismissed due to “insufficiency of evidence.”

The Makati Police filed a complaint against the lawyers for their alleged failure to prove that they have the right to be inside Times Bar during the implementation of a search warrant. The police said the three lawyers forced their way inside the bar and started threatening and questioning them of the procedure.

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In their joint counter-affidavit, the lawyers denied the police’s allegations that aside from forcing their way inside the bar, they also harassed the police officers, damaged, altered and contaminated the evidence.

They pointed out that it would be “foolhardy for them to ignore the police officers” as the place was under the full control of armed police officers who could have easily escorted them out of the establishment.

The lawyers added that they took photos and videos in the presence of the police and with their permission. They said that being lawyers, they enjoy the presumption that they are allowed to represent their client and their presence is also required in the implementation of a search warrant.

In clearing the lawyers, the Prosecutor said the police failed to present evidence to support their accusations.

The police said the lawyers refused to divulge the name of their client during the confrontation, but the Prosecutor noted that based on the video presented by the police themselves, the lawyers identified who they are representing during the implementation of the search warrant.

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The resolution also stated that the police failed to provide evidence to support their claim that the lawyers altered or compromised the evidence and harassed the cops inside the area.

“It is clearly shown that their assertions lack the earmark of truth and could not pass the test of reason and human experience,” read the resolution.

“Jurisprudence teaches us that bare and unsubstantiated allegations do not constitute substantial evidence and have no probative value…After a careful evaluation of the evidence on record, we find no probable cause to indict respondents for the crimes complained of,” the resolution further stated.  /ee

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TAGS: 3 lawyers, Makati bar raid, makati City Prosecutors Office, Philippine news update, Times Bar
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