Probe on raps vs. lawyers arrested in Makati bar set Aug. 28

MANILAMakati City prosecutors have set the preliminary investigation on August 28 relative to the complaint filed against the three lawyers who were arrested by policemen who served a search warrant in a bar suspected to be a drug den.

Facing a complaint for violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code, Resistance and Disobedience, violation of a city ordinance and Section 11, Article 2 of the Dangerous Drugs Act on constructive possession are lawyers Lenie Rocha, Jan Vincent Soliven and Romulo Alarcon.

Premises considered, it is respectfully recommended that complaints be subjected to preliminary investigation and that Attys. Lenie Rocel Elmido Rocha, Jan Vincent Sambrano Soliven and Romulo Bernard Bustamante Alarkonbe released pending to conduct of such investigation. The preliminary investigation is set August 28 and September 4 at 2 p.m., read the two-page order signed by Deputy City Prosecutor Henry Salazar which was approved by Senior Deputy City Prosecutor Emmanuel Medina.

The case was filed by members of the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Makati City Police Station.

Initial investigation showed the police implemented a search warrant issued by Makati Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Elmo Alameda at the Times in Manila Bar along Makati Ave. last August 16.

Police said while they are implementing the search warrant, the three lawyers entered the bar at 12:30 p.m. and ignored the policeman who asked for their identification cards.

Police said the three lawyers took pictures and videos of the scene without proper and prior coordination with the police.

Also, they (the three lawyers) interfered in the performance of their duty (police) even threatening and questioning their authority in every stage of the process which causes delay and obstruction in the service of the search warrant, said Romel Odronia, senior assistant city prosecutor, in a two-page order obtained by the Philippine News Agency.

Odronia said there is a need to conduct further investigation to hear the side of the lawyers and to determine if their actions constitute constructive possession of the drugs seized in the premises.

Makati City Station Drug Enforcement Unit operatives, led by Insp. Jeson Vigilla, arrested the lawyers for obstruction of justice after the three reportedly, at first, refused to identify themselves as well as their client, Burton Joseph Server III, to policemen. Server was one of those named in the search warrant.

The said raid yielded illegal drugs, among them 19 pieces of ecstasy (four tablets and 15 capsules) valued at PHP142,500, 18 sachets of cocaine valued at PHP1.57 million, and a sachet of kush.

During the police operation, 31 bar employees, 57 foreigners and 63 local guests were invited for questioning but were later released. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency