A Boholano national officer of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) fumed over a supposed statement of Provincial Board Member Ricky Masamayor in which the legislator asked for a list of lawyers and judges in Bohol who have been taking on drug cases and acquitting drug suspects amid the perceived proliferation of illegal drugs in the province.
IBP national secretary Atty. Roland Inting in an interview over station dyRD’s “Inyong Alagad” program called the statement “seditious” and an “intrusion” into the function of the judiciary, saying that it has angered lawyers in the province.
“Nangasuko ang mga abogado, apil gud pud ko. Nganong hilabtan man mi,” said Inting. “Imong gi sugnoran ang emosyon sa katawhan batok sa class of citizens, the lawyers of this land.”
Meanwhile, a Facebook post of radio broadcaster Fred Amora which echoed Masamayor’s statement and added that the move would “open Pandora’s box” and reveal why “drug lords” are still “flourishing in Bohol” drew further ire from Inting as he took the social media post as an allusion that lawyers are behind the drug trade in the province.
“Gilaliman ka kining gisulti ni Fred Amora na ‘it will open Pandora’s box’, mura ba kintahay og ang ga sponsor og drugs sa Bohol mga abogado, naunsa mo diha,” he said.
Inting said that the issue is “no joke” and that he will be bringing it up with the IBP’s national office.
He also demanded for a statement from Masamayor to either deny or correct his statement.
Inting, in caution, said that the IBP will take action on the issue “if” Masamayor’s statement which was posted by Amora and a radio station (not dyRD) on their Facebook pages are true.
“I hope na kung tinuod man gani ni, na unta e-tul-id ni ni Board Member Masamayor ug di ni tinuod iyang gisulti hala pangasab-e ning dyTR ug kini si Fred Amora, and you come out with a public statement because you have a name to protect and the lawyers of Bohol are now very angry,” he said.
Amora however has since posted screenshots of the radio station’s online report and a video of Masamayor uttering the statement during a press conference of the Bohol Police Provincial Office in Camp Francisco Dagohoy.
Masamayor issued the statement following the seizure of over P40 million worth of shabu in Tagbilaran and Talibon earlier this week.
According to Inting, accused individuals have the right to defend themselves through due process while lawyers can freely choose what cases to take.
“You cannot deprive a person of his life, liberty and property og di mo agi og kaso, unya kining mga abogado ayaw ninyo’g but-i kung unsa na kaso ilang dawaton kay ila ng duty.
When a lawyer takes a case, it does not mean that he agrees with the crime or act, but he is protecting and defending the right of a person to a lawyer as provided and mandated by our laws,” Inting said.
He explained that drug suspects get acquitted due to weak cases, not because judges favor criminality.
“The judge cannot do otherwise but to follow and obey the law. Kung unsay sulti sa balaod unya wa ka mo tunong diha sa maoy gisulti sa balaod, unsa may buhaton sa huwis,” Inting said.
Amora for his part said that he was merely echoing Masamayor’s statement and that he was voicing his personal opinion with his added remarks.
Masamayor meanwhile who has not answered calls from the media has yet to release a statement on the issue. (R. Tutas)