It’s our moral duty, lawyers’ groups tell HPG 7 cops’ counsel

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Friday, May 16, 2014


UNFAIR.

This was how lawyer Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu described defense lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna’s criticism of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City chapter and the Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag) 7 for opposing the proposal to transfer the investigation on the ambush-slay of lawyer Noel Archival to Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila.

Dela Cerna was incensed after local IBP shapter and Flag 7 issued statements indicating their opposition.

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“Any lawyer worth his salt would take interest in this case because Atty. Archival was killed in line with the practice of his profession,” said Dalawampu in a text message.

“Our group of lawyers have never questioned Atty. dela Cerna in taking the defense of the persons suspected of (committing) the cold murder of (Archival).”

Why in Manila?

She further said she could not understand why dela Cerna wants to bring the investigation to Manila.

“What is there in Manila which is not in Cebu? The power, connection and influence of HPG headquarters and command? Is this why he wants to have the investigation in Manila? Even if there is nothing in Manila connected with the case?”

Dela Cerna represents five former Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 officials who were charged with multiple murder and frustrated murder for allegedly conspiring to kill Archival, his aide Candido Miñoza and his driver Alejandro Jayme in Barangay Coro, Dalaguete town last Feb. 18. Paulo Cortes, Archival’s aide, is the lone survivor of the shooting.

He wants DOJ to conduct the investigation because his clients fear that Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival, brother of Atty. Archival, might influence the prosecutors.

Not lawyering

Lawyer Elaine Bathan, IBP Cebu City Chapter president, said dela Cerna should not take their resolution as “lawyering for the prosecution” because one of the group’s objectives is to assist in the administration of justice.

“While we recognize his passion as defense counsel for the respondent police (officers), we cannot tie our hands from doing a moral duty as a board which stands higher than our being practitioners,” she said.

Bathan said their stand was made in relation to what they “deem should be a just, fair and proper proceeding as regards the case of Atty. Archival.”

Bathan also said transferring the venue of the investigation will delay the proceedings, and put the witnesses and evidence at risk.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 17, 2014.

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