MANILA, Philippines – The Makati City Police Station has been awarded by the Philippine National Police (PNP) for its raids of the Time in Manila bar in Makati.
In front of thousands of newly promoted cops in Camp Crame, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde handed a "Medalya ng Kagalingan" over to Makati City police officials on Monday, August 20— crediting their operatives in back-to-back raids of the bar.
The Medalya ng Kagalingan award honors cops who accomplish "[a] single act of heroism or series of heroic acts in a duty responsibility."
What was the award for? The Makati City cops were recognized for spearheading two raids of the Time in Manila bar located along Makati Avenue.
The first on August 11, which came after a buy-bust operation, led to the seizure of 850 grams of shabu (methamphetamine) worth P6.15 million and the arrest of 31 drug suspects, mostly workers of the bar.
The second, while implementing a search warrant on August 16, resulted in the collection of 17 sachets of shabu, 3 plastic containers of cocaine, and a plastic of Kush. Cops have yet to release the estimated value of the seized drugs.
The controversial raid: The August 16 incident stirred up a hornet's nest after Makati cops arrested 3 lawyers monitoring the bar raid—Jan Vincent Sambrano Soliven, Lenie Rocel Elmido Rocha and Romulo Bernard Bustamante Alarkon of the Desierto and Desierto law firm.
Diane Desierto, a senior partner of the law firm, claimed that the 3 lawyers were just doing their jobs of ensuring that the raid followed the parameters set by the search warrant of the police. The cops claimed that the lawyers overstepped by "harassing" the police and hindering their movements around the bar's premises. (WATCH: Videos show arrest of lawyers in Makati bar raid)
Lawyers, from academics to senators, have condemned the arrest of the 3 lawyers as an assault against the legal profession in the Duterte administration's relentless and chilling anti-drug campaign.
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.