CHR: Request for list of lawyers in ‘communist’ cases ‘unbecoming of police officer’
MANILA, Philippines — The move of Calbayog police to request for the list of lawyers representing alleged “Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) personalities in Court” is “unbecoming of a police officer”, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Sunday.
CHR spokesperson Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia said this move of PLt. Fernando Calabria, Jr., who serves as chief of the Intelligence Unit of the Calbayog City Police Station, “is unbecoming of a police officer; transcends all legal and statutory basis; and threatens the legal profession by failing to appreciate the role of lawyers in upholding the people’s Constitutional rights.”
“The right to an independent counsel of an accused, preferably of their own choice, is guaranteed by the Constitution, our laws, and the Rules of Court,” De Guia said in a statement.
“By targeting lawyers, the concerned police officer equally threatens the rule of law,” De Guia added.
Further, De Guia said the request is “significantly concerning” especially with cases of lawyer killings and red-tagging of personalities.
PNP officer in charge Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar earlier announced that Calabria has been relieved from his post, a move that CHR welcomed.
“We urge the PNP to come up with clearer guidelines for its law enforcers on information gathering to assure the public of the reasonable exercise of police power,” De Guia said.
“In this way, the public can expect greater accountability from law enforcers by showing that PNP will remain committed in their motto ‘to serve and protect’ the Filipino people, especially our rights to life and liberty,” De Guia added.
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