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CHR initiates probe on arrest of Makati bar lawyers.

Following the arrest of three lawyers inside a bar in Makati City, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has launched its own investigation into the incident.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said on Saturday that a 'motu proprio' investigation is necessary after seeing some alleged violations of human rights on the arrest of three lawyers who are just representing the owners of the Time in Manila bar.

'Nagsasagawa na ng imbestigasyon ang CHR. Motu propio ang isinasagawa naming imbestigasyon kahapon [The CHR is conducting an investigation. Motu proprio investigation is what we are doing yesterday],' De Guia said in an interview with dzBB.

A motu propio investigation, according to De Guia, is done even without the request of other parties.

The three lawyers from the Desierto and Desierto law firm were identified as Lenie Rocel Rocha, 25; Jan Vincent Sambrano, 32; and Romulo Bernardo Alarkon, 33.

The three lawyers were arrested by the Makati police for allegedly obstructing the implementation of a search warrant at the Time bar in Makati City.

The CHR executive also said that they quickly responded to the case upon knowing the incident.

Despite the fact that the CHR could not still determine the possible liability on the alleged human rights violation against the lawyers, she noted that the incident would have a 'chilling effect' to the public.

'Lubos kaming nabahala doon sa impormasyon kaya agaran naming dinispatch ang aming quick response team, [We are deeply bothered by the information that is why we dispatched a quick response team]' De Guia said.

'Kung nagagawa ito sa mga abugado ano pa kaya sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan [If this was done to lawyers, how much more to ordinary citizens]?' she said.

'Chilling kasi parang embolden ang ating mga kapulisan na kapag ina-assert ng mga mamamayan at mga abugado ang kanilang mga constitutional rights, ay ginagamit na instrumento ang batas laban sa mga mamamayan, instead na iyong batas ang prumoprotekta sa mga mamamayan,' De Guia continiued.

In a separate statement, the CHR said that the arrest of three lawyers 'shows an utter disrespect not only of the law profession but also of constitutionally enshrined rights,' De Guia added.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 18, 2018
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