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Opposition solons seek probe into alleged police profiling of lawyers

Some lawmakers on Tuesday sought a probe into the alleged profiling being done against legal counsels representing left-leaning personalities.

Members of the Makabayan Bloc as well as Representatives Edcel Lagman and Jose Christopher "Kit" Belmonte filed House Resolution 1657 urging the House Committee on Human Rights to condemn and investigate, in aid of legislation, the police's alleged profiling of lawyers of suspected communists and other left-leaning individuals.

"The legal community is threatened considering the current dismal human rights situation in the country and the recent attacks in lawyers. These brutal attacks and killings of lawyers, prosecutors and judges, are attacks also to all human rights defenders and to the legal profession, which demand a thorough and impartial investigation that should be conducted posthaste," the resolution read.

Data from the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers indicated that a total of 54 lawyers and judges were killed since June 2016. Legal groups have raised concerns over attacks against their members.

Aside from the attacks and killings of lawyers, the lawmakers cited the request of the Calbayog City police's intelligence chief of a list of legal counsels representing suspected communist personalities.

The Supreme Court confirmed that the Calbayog City RTC had received Police Lieutenant Fernando Calabria's request but “no action has been taken on the request.”

Aside from relieving Calabria from his post, Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar ordered an investigation into the issue.

Eleazar emphasized that the PNP leadership did not issue any such directive, "and will never tolerate such unprofessional method of information-gathering."

He also apologized to the legal community over the matter. — BM, GMA News