For someone who has practiced law for three decades, I find the arrest of Piston president George San Mateo last Dec. 5 very puzzling and uncanny.
San Mateo was barely steps away from the Quezon City Hall of Justice to post a minimal
bail of P4,000 for a minor offense cognizable by the Metropolitan Trial Court when QC policemen arrested him, bringing the helpless guy to the police station.
The arrest, to anybody’s mind, is a plain case of overkill.
If they were acting in good faith, the police officers could have escorted San Mateo to the MTC branch where his case is pending and allowed him to post bail. After all, San Mateo had come to court for the said purpose and was already at the entrance of the building where the court was.
But the policemen did not. They decided to arrest him, spend government money for fuel by driving him to the police station, and spend additional government resources in booking him.
Have the policemen not heard of voluntary surrender? Or do they simply believe that a person facing a criminal charge has to surrender to the police first before he can be allowed to post bail in court?
The action taken by police with respect to San Mateo’s arrest has intensified the view
that the Philippines is becoming a police state, where the police and the military are superior than the judiciary.
REMIGIO D. SALADERO JR., Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center