September 18, 2018
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September 18, 2018
September 10, 2018
Three policemen are facing murder raps over the death of Quezon City Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco, the National Bureau of Investigation said on Monday.
In a statement, the NBI said that it has recommended the filing of murder charges against SPO2 Rodante Sicat Lalimarmo, PO3 Arthur Yasonia Lucy and PO1 Jose Lunar Mercardo over the killing of Velasco last May 11.
According to the NBI, its Death Investigation Division (NBI-DID) found that there is probable cause to file murder raps against the three policemen and eight other unidentified suspects.
Gierran said that the complaints against the three cops—who are still in active duty—were filed before the Quezon City prosecutors’ office last week.
The NBI said that their agents conducted three months of “thorough and exhaustive investigation” into the case.
In a separate press conference, DID investigation agent Ariel Ross Calub said that they scoured footage from CCTV cameras in the area, including Quezon City circle.
September 8, 2018
THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Negros Occidental chapter has passed a resolution Friday, September 7, requesting the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)–Bacolod to conduct a parallel investigation on the death of defense lawyer Rafael Atotubo.
Atotubo was shot to death by two unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants outside of his house at Barangay 20 on August 23.
Six members of the group, including its president Arnel Lapore, convened yesterday at the Sugarland Hotel in Bacolod City.
Lapore said there is still no development on the investigation from the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO).
“We’ve already been waiting for two weeks now, and nothing has happened,” he added.
Lapore said they will send a copy of the resolution to the NBI-Bacolod office on Monday but they will not give a timeline to the bureau to solve the murder case.
“We will just leave it to them,” Lapore said.
BCPO has welcomed any help from other law enforcement agencies and units that will also investigate Atotubo’s death.
August 24, 2018
Police say Rafael Atotubo was sitting outside his house when riding-in-tandem gunmen attacked him
A lawyer who handled drug cases was shot dead in front of his rented house here on Thursday, August 23.
The fatality was identified as 62-year-old Rafael Atotubo.
The lawyer was sitting outside his house when he was attacked by two unidentified assailants on board a motorcycle.
Chief Inspector Sherlock Gabana, Bacolod City Police Office public information officer, said the armed back rider, who was wearing a black jacket, bonnet and helmet, alighted from the motorcycle and shot the victim twice.
The victim was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead upon arrival. He succumbed to a gunshot wound below his left eyebrow.
Authorities recovered two fired cartridges of caliber .9mm from the crime scene while the victim’s vehicle that was parked inside his garage had two bullet holes.
Police probers are looking at all possible motives including the victim’s work as a defense lawyer for drug personalities.
23 August 2018
Another dear brethren falls with his boots on
NUPL strongly condemns the continuing attacks on lawyers with the atrocious killing of Atty. Rafael Atotubo in Bacolod by unidentified assailants riding in tandem. While Atty. Atotubo has represented many illegal drugs suspects in court, this can not in any way justify his killing. No lawyer should be attacked for the exercise of their profession especially since everybody has the constitutional right to counsel and access to courts.
The brazeness of the attack committed in a public place in broad daylight is strikjngly similar to the modus operandi of the continuing extrajudicial killngs all over the country. This shows that the killers were never afraid of being accosted by the police, which only strengthens the theory that the police is involved in the killings. The fact that President Duterte previously threatened lawyers who represent drug suspects only adds more to the belief that the killings are state-sponsored or condoned.
We are wary that the killing of this low-profile and quiet lawyer will end up unsolved like the thousands of extrajudicial killings nationwide. This barbaric act comes on the heels of the continuing attacks and threats on prosecutors and practising lawyers who in one way or another perform their professional duties in regard to drug cases. We dread the message writ large by the authorities: “lawyers back off or you will be next.”
We ask the Supreme Court and the local and international legal comminity to strongly denounce this latest attack and criticise the failure of the Duterte administratiion to stop the killings and arrest the killers not only of lawyers but civilians who were victims of extrajudicial killings. We also ask colleagues in the legal profession to help families of victims achieve justice for the death of their loved ones.
We demand that President Duterte, himself a lawyer and forner prosecutor, to publicly condemn the killing and declare that lawyers should not be attacked for the exercise of their profession. We demand that he publicly commit that the perpetrators be held accountable under the law.
We will not back off. We shall close ranks and stand our ground.
Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares
(0917) 835 0459
Atty. Edre U. Olalia
(UP National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook, 24/8/18)
August 23, 2018
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has asserted that the police did not violate any United Nations (UN) principle with the arrest of the three lawyers during last week’s illegal drug operation in a Makati City bar contrary to the claim of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
DILG Assistant Secretary and spokesman Jonathan E. Malaya insisted that the DILG-PNP is cognizant of government’s role to ensure that lawyers are able to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference in accordance with the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
However, Malaya pointed out that the same UN Declaration puts an equally important obligation to lawyers to cooperate with government and other institutions in furthering the ends of justice and public interest.
Malaya maintained that “obviously the lawyers involved did not cooperate with authorities as they entered the crime scene and crossed the police line without coordination and without any legal authority.’’
He noted the three lawyers reportedly failed to show any written authorization from the owner of the place being searched.
“As we acknowledge that lawyers owe fidelity to the cause of their clients, they should also bear in mind that as officers of the court, they must observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice,” Malaya said.
Last Tuesday, the IBP claimed that the arrest, detention and filing of charges against the three lawyers who reportedly interfered in police operations constitute a violation of UN rules.
Charges of constructive possession of illegal drugs, as well as obstruction of justice, resistance and disobedience to persons of authorities, and violation of a city ordinance against civilians crossing a police line were slapped against the lawyers for reportedly obstructing the implementation of a search warrant inside a Makati bar. They were ordered released by the Makati City prosecutor after 24 hours who set the preliminary investigation on Aug. 28.
August 20, 2018
The policemen who arrested and detained three lawyers for taking photos and videos during a drug raid at a Makati bar could face arbitrary detention charges, Sen. Richard Gordon said on Sunday.
Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said Makati police authorities were at fault in arresting and detaining the three lawyers who were just performing their jobs while the policemen were searching the bar for party drugs.
“What the police did was wrong. Those are lawyers, officers of the court. It’s the job of lawyers to protect [the interest] of their client,” Gordon told dzBB radio.
The three were identified as Lenie Rocel Rocha, 25; Jan Vincent Sambrano, 32; and Romulo Bernardo Alarkon, 33, all working for the Desierto and Desierto law firm, which represents the owners of Time in Manila bar on Makati Avenue.
The lawyers were arrested on Aug. 16 and detained for more than 24 hours after the policemen accused them of obstruction of justice after they “entered the premises of the bar, took several pictures and videos of the scene, and intimidated the members of the searching team without proper and prior coordination.”
August 20, 2018
THE president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has warned that the warrantless arrest and the subsequent filing of criminal charges by police authorities against three lawyers monitoring a police raid on their client’s establishment suspected of being a drug den would send a “chilling effect” on the lawyers’ performance of their duty to ensure that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of an accused are respected.
IBP President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo told the Businessmirror that the filing of constructive possession of illegal drugs against lawyers Jan Vincent Sambrano Soliven, Lenie Rocel Elmido Rocha and Romulo Bernard Bustamante Alarkon was merely to justify their illegal detention and to give policemen the basis for holding them longer under custody.
IN Makati City, meanwhile, Mayor Abby Binay has warned drug dealers and their clients to steer clear of the city, as the city government is determined to put them behind bars, and urged the Makati police to pursue the charges filed against 31 employees of a bar at Barangay Poblacion arrested during an anti-illegal drugs operation last August 11.
“We are determined to banish the illegal-drug trade from our communities, especially in establishments like bars where drug dealing can easily become part of the services offered to clients because of unscrupulous business owners,” the mayor said in a news statement issued on Monday.