Makati fiscals junk raps vs. 3 lawyers in bar raid

By Benjamin Pulta

February 28, 2019, 9:15 pm

MANILA -- State prosecutors dismissed the obstruction of justice charges filed by policemen against three lawyers arrested for interfering with their operation during a follow-up raid on a bar in Makati City that was suspected to be a drug den.

In a resolution dated January 31 and released to the media on Thursday, Makati City Senior Assistant Prosecutor Romel S. Odronia recommended that the complaints against lawyers Lenie Rocel Elmido Rocha, Jan Vincent Sambrano Soliven, and Romulo Bernard Bustamante Alarkon for obstruction of justice and constructive possession of drugs be dismissed for lack of evidence.
Deputy City Prosecutor Henry M. Salazar approved the resolution.

The three were arrested during a follow-up operation by policemen on Times Bar at 7480 Makati Ave., in Barangay Poblacion on August 16, 2018.

The lawyers tried to enter the premises as a search of the premises was being conducted. The policemen claimed the lawyers took their own photographs using cellphones, which may have caused damage, alteration, or contamination of the evidence.

The three lawyers, police said, interfered with the performance of their duties by threatening and questioning the policemen's authority to conduct the search under a warrant issued by a Makati judge prompting policemen to arrest the lawyers.

Upon the completion of the search on the premises, the lawmen recovered 13 pieces of plastic sachets containing a white powdery substance.

The operation was conducted by operatives of the Makati City Station Drug Enforcement Unit, led by Insp. Jeson Vigilla.

The three lawyers 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.

They were also repeatedly asked to step out of the police operation area but refused to do so.

Aside from Server, others named in the warrant were Rico Rene Blanco, Cynthia Primero, Ma. Amparo Marcalinas, Reyan Ladrillo, and Danilo Regino.

The warrant covered a search for ecstasy, party drugs, shabu, marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia reportedly kept in two vaults inside the room of Regino at the second floor of the bar.

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

Prior to the follow-up operation, 31 employees of the bar, 57 foreigners, and 63 local guests were invited for questioning but were released later. (PNA)