Following allegations of some lawyers’ links with drugs, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, (IBP) Bohol Chapter in a statement, assured they will not tolerate any member’s involvement in illegal drug trade.
Through a public statement posted in his facebook account, Bohol IBP President Atty. Teodoro Lagang on Tuesday evening stressed: If anyone in our ranks is proven to be involved in the illegal drug trade, then we will be the first to denounce him or her.
Hinting that the IBP as an organization has been smeared by the careless persecution, lawyers unite in saying they do not object the investigation and prosecution of members in its ranks so long as it is done in accordance with existing laws, rules, and legal processes.
“If a lawyer is involved in the illegal drug trade, then the consequences for such illegal activities will be the sole responsibility of that lawyer and it has nothing to do with his or her profession,” IBP said.
As its commitment to the fight against drugs, the IBP Bohol has been conducting seminars to law enforcement officers to enhance their legal knowledge and help them be more effective in the fight against illegal drugs.
“The IBP Bohol Chapter, through the LAELEP Program, has also been extending free legal assistance to our law enforcers who have cases filed against them in connection with the performance of their duties,” IBP said.
Through the Legal Assistance for Effective Law Enforcement Program (LAELEP), the IBP has also been extending free legal assistance to law enforcers who gain counter-suits while in the performance of their duties.
However, feeling slighted by the allegations, lawyers went on to say “It is disheartening that, as a group who vanguards the rule of law, we find ourselves needlessly victims of generalized persecution.
Taking the cudgels to clear the lawyers group against the implications, Atty. Lagang in his IBP statement also strongly denied the implication that Bohol lawyers, in general or as a whole, are involved in illegal drugs.
IBP reiterates: we do not only need to start the fight against illegal drugs, we need to win it but added, not by careless persecution.
In a telephone conversation later, Atty. Lagang hinted that many lawyers were furious about the news, some even contemplating on legal action.
It may be recalled that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) revealed during the recent Provincial peace and Order Meeting that about 3-5 lawyers are implicated in illegal drugs.
But the NBI, through executive officer Atty. Arcelito Albao did not name the suspects or elaborate on the method of the lawyer’s links with drugs.
In their statement, the IBP appears to be one in the idea that the lawyers’ defense of drug clients may be among the issues considered for the allegations.
There, IBP reiterates its duty to uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.
“It is also part of our duty to serve our clients with competence and diligence and to represent our client with zeal within the bounds of law,” the lawyers group asserted.
Saying a lawyer does not have the luxury of choosing his clients, the IBP head also reminded everyone, lawyers cannot be faulted for observing our duty to represent clients, whether accused of being involved in illegal drugs or other crimes.
Both sides of a case must always be represented in order for the legal system to work.
“However, if our institution as a whole shall be persecuted without any categorical and legal basis, then we cannot take the same sitting down,” IBP summed. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)