Let me tell you a story that is fast becoming a folk tale. You all heard the story but let me tell it anyway. On August 23, 2010, on an otherwise boring Monday, a dismissed police officer gone berserk held hostage a group of Chinese (or Hongkong?) nationals. Negotiations took place and one thing led to another. At the end of the day, a ragtag PNP SWAT team swooped down on the bus where the hostage taker and the hostages were holed up. Desperate to save the lives of the hostages, the members of the SWAT team bombarded the bus with canisters of tear gas hoping to maim and paralyze the hostage taker, if only momentarily, and catch him by surprise. They had gas masks – or at least most of them had. In their haste and zeal, they never used them. They later on discovered how stinging a tear gas could be.

My apologies, but this is not another one of those vilification campaigns against the members of the SWAT. In fact, except for the embarrassment, what happened was not really a botched rescue attempt as others would have it. On the contrary, the SWAT team was able to save the lives of the remaining hostages and that was all that mattered. But that’s not the point of this story. The point is:

  1. When you have a valuable resource at your disposal, use it; and
  2. When you are about to tread a smoky confine you yourself created, use a gas mask.

The LS is a conglomeration of valuable human resources at the PNP’s disposal. It is a font of great, but, -- like top of the line cellphone models – underutilized minds. Some people buy the latest cellphone models only for calling and texting. By analogy, some commanders request the detail of LS lawyers only for drafting Memorandum of Agreements. More often than not, these commanders end up facing charges. Regrettably, PNP officers who recognize the utility and potential of lawyers are few and far between. Let me tell you something : LS lawyers are like gas masks; they are goggles for commanders to use in seeing through the legal perils and backlash of police work. Lawyers of the LS worth their salt, for example, can advise commanders on the spot concerning legal pitfalls of actual operations.

As human resources, LS lawyers are sui generis or one of a kind. LS lawyers are the only mammals in the PNP with the patience to pore over a voluminous law book, a technical law, or a kilometric Supreme Court Decision with all its legalese and gobbledygook. LS lawyers are the only species of PNP personnel who can listen to your gripes and tale of a service-related case without wincing a face, squirming in the seat or even batting an eyelash, as if what you are saying is the gospel truth. That is their job.

LS lawyers can do a lot more; from preparing position papers to drafting a bill, or simply sitting in a conference room the whole day long sipping endless cups of coffee. Name it! But are these talents or abilities the real, or only reason for their relevance? Not quite. There is an ultimate reason for their forbearance. They do all these to ensure that laws, including the PNP Law, are faithfully executed. This motivation stems from their raison d’ etre. Therein lies their relevance. The creation of the LS and, indeed, the creation of all Legal Services in the Executive Branch, is to ensure that the President succeeds in “faithfully executing all the laws of the land.” That is the truth; the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

So how relevant is the LS? Wrong question.

Last Updated (Thursday, 09 June 2011 02:16)