MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 06 April) — Lawyers on Thursday hit a memorandum issued by the provincial police director of Surigao del Sur ordering the police station of Lianga town to profile a public attorney for rendering legal assistance to alleged rebels.
The memorandum, signed by Col. Dennis A. Siruno of the Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office and dated March 29, identified the lawyer as Carol Anne A. General.
It said that during the meeting between the Regional Intelligence Division and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency in March, “it has been observed that some legal personalities handling the cases of CTGs were repeatedly providing them assistance with regards [sic] to their criminal cases.”
The military and police refer to the New People’s Army as CTG or “communist terrorist group.”
The memorandum was marked “confidential”.
“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 statement signed by 16 lawyers said.
The statement noted 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,” it added.
The statement called on Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos, Jr. and the Philippine National Police leadership “to thoroughly and swiftly investigate this incident and impose the appropriate sanctions on the responsible official concerned.”
It also asked the Supreme Court “to take a more aggressive stance in protecting the members of the Bench and Bar,” saying such actions erode public trust and confidence in the justice system.
The signatories to the statement include current and former officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Region as well as deans of law schools in the Davao Region. (MindaNews)