Mindanao-based lawyers call out PNP for 'profiling' counsel of suspected rebel | Inquirer News

Mindanao-based lawyers call out PNP for ‘profiling’ counsel of suspected rebel

/ 01:44 PM April 06, 2023

Mindanao-based lawyers call out the PNP after its provincial office purportedly ordered the profiling of a counsel for an alleged communist rebel.MANILA, Philippines — Several lawyers based in Mindanao have called out the Philippine National Police (PNP) after its provincial office purportedly ordered the profiling of a counsel for an alleged communist rebel.

At least sixteen attorneys issued a statement Thursday condemning a purported memorandum from the Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office (PPO) instructing the Lianga Municipal Police Station to profile a lawyer allegedly defending a suspected insurgent in court.

The memo referred to a comment during a meeting with the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) that “some legal personalities handling the cases of CTGs were repeatedly providing them assistance with regards to their criminal cases.”


The government refers to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army and its allies as the CTG, or communist terrorist group.


“This is, to say the least, a gross display of ignorance and blatant disrespect of the law. More importantly, this is an undue interference and grave assault on the independence and role of lawyers in our justice system,” the lawyers said.

“Unfortunately, it can be recalled that similar lawyer profiling incidents have also occurred in the past that sent clear chilling effects on the members of the bar.  PNP members, as law enforcers, are duty-bound and expected to assist in the administration of justice, not to make a mockery of our laws and transgress them with impunity,” they added.

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The lawyers also urged Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. and the PNP leadership to investigate the Surigao del Sur PPO memorandum and the Supreme Court to protect lawyers only doing their jobs.

“We strongly urge the authorities, particularly DILG Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ C. Abalos, Jr. and the PNP leadership, to thoroughly and swiftly investigate this incident and impose the appropriate sanctions on the responsible official concerned,” they said.

“We call upon the Honorable Supreme Court to take a more aggressive stance in protecting the members of the Bench and Bar, as these continuing attacks on the legal profession erode public trust and confidence in our justice system.  Without a justice system, we have no civilization, no better than savages,” they added.


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INQUIRER.net has sought the side of the PNP but the police organization has neither confirmed the legitimacy of the said memorandum nor issued a response to the lawyers’ appeal as of this writing.

Below is the list of lawyers who have so far signed the joint statement:

  • Daniel Campoamor, governor, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Eastern Mindanao region
  • Aiza Mae Kanda, president, IBP Davao City Chapter
  • Manuel Quibod, regional coordinator, Free Legal Assistance Group – Southern Mindanao/ dean, Ateneo De Davao University – College of Law
  • Antonio Arellano, dean, University of Mindanao – College of Law
  • Ramon Edison Batacan, former IBP Governor, Eastern Mindanao Region/ dean, Rizal Memorial Colleges – School of Law
  • Israelito Torreon, former IBP Governor, Eastern Mindanao Region/ dean Jose Maria Colleges – School of Law
  • Genevieve Marie Dolores Brandares-Paulino, dean, Cor Jesu College – Law School
  • Lynnart Walford Tan, dean, St. Thomas More School of Law and Business – College of Law
  • Caesar Europa, former IBP Governor, Eastern Mindanao Region
  • Socorro Ermac-Cabreros, former president, IBP Davao City Chapter
  • Eleanor Dela Peña, former president, IBP Davao City Chapter
  • Marcos Chua, Jr., former president, IBP Davao City Chapter
  • Carlos Isagani Zarate, former president, IBP Davao City Chapter
  • Peter Neil Trinidad, president, IBP Surigao del Sur Chapter
  • Antonio Azarcon, chairperson, Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao

These lawyers emphasized that legal practitioners should be allowed to do their work without fear of being profiled.

“Lawyers must be free to fulfill their sworn duties with passion and without fear of profiling, and worst, reprisals.  No to lawyer profiling, respect the independence of the legal profession,” they said.

Lawyers often complain about government profiling. Eight House of Representatives members requested a probe into PNP profiling of lawyers allegedly red-tagged or linked to the communist armed movement in 2021.

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READ: House probe on PNP’s ‘profiling’ of lawyers defending red-tagged individuals sought

TAGS: CPP-NPA, lawyers, Mindanao, PNP‎, Profiling

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