Nasaan ang yelow police line? Roque says Times Bar abogados are Exhibit A on what not to do in crime scene
Presidential Spokesperson said the three Times Bar lawyers need to get a refresher course of criminal procedure.
“If you ask me as a law professor, they need—those three lawyers need a refresher course on criminal procedure. Lawyers have absolutely no involvement in an ongoing police investigation. Their role is when there is already a pending action in the Prosecutor’s Office, if there is anything that was wrong in the police investigation, then they can alleged this either in the determination of probable cause or in the trial itself,” said Roque in a briefing.
“In any police investigation, you can only observe, but certainly, you cannot interfere in an ongoing police investigation. Even on freedom of information, that is one of the recognized exceptions, pag merong ongoing police investigation, the public don’t even have the right to information to find out what’s ongoing,” he added.
Times Bar lawyers Lenie Rocel Elmido Rocha, Jan Vincent Sambrano Soliven and Romulo Bernard Bustamante Alarkonbe were arrested (but later released) and charged with obstruction of justice for meddling in a police operation searching for drugs at the drug-tainted Makati City watering hole.
The three lawyers entered the bar at 12:30 p.m. and ignored the policeman who asked for their identification cards. The three lawyers also took pictures and videos of the scene without proper and prior coordination with the police.
Roque said he saw a video of the incident and it clearly showed that three lawyers had no business questioning the police who were only implementing the search warrant.
“The legal profession should in fact, use this video t0 tell law students what they can and cannot do in the course of an ongoing police investigation,” said Roque.
Roque appealed to the police to cut the lawyers some slack because they were still young and just overzealous.
“Masyado kasing mga bata. So ako naman, I’m appealing to the policemen, please show extreme patience dahil mga bata – they’re overzealous, too. They still have to learn the ropes. I understand one of them had just passed the bar, so come on. Habaan sana ang pasensya, huwag nang palakihin,” said Roque.
“Between policemen and lawyers, lawyers are held to higher standards. Validly issued warrant of arrest, why will you prevent policemen from entering or proceeding to an upper floor where the safe is supposed to be searched? Naku, mag-isip-isip sila, naku. I also taught constitutional law, pero mali, at least from the video that I saw,” he added.
Roque said among the things he noticedin the video was the lack of a yellow police line which would have marked the restricted areas in the search operations.
“Pero nagtataka nga ako, maski dito sa mga sine natin, kapag may police investigation, may police line. Ang problema naman, wala yata tayong yellow police line dito sa Pilipinas. Kaya they should not even have been there. And what business did they have being in the area, being where the search warrant was being served, without being identifying who their client was, that’s ridiculous,” said Roque.
“You do not acquire a right to be in a police investigation, just because you claim to be representing a client that you don’t want to divulge. Eh paano pa ito, positive na nakakuha ng shabu at kung anu-anong mga droga, natural, material kung sino iyong may-ari ng bar and they were concealing kung sino iyong kanilang kliyente na diumano one the owners of the bar,” he added.