Perplexing Development in Gary Lee Rohn Case

I’ll chalk this up to a lesson in learning about the Philippine judiciously system.  Earlier this month, Gary Lee Rohn was arrested and jailed for having unrelated minors in his home. RA 7610 .prohibits unrelated parties from being in the presence of children

This law and arrest has been the subject of talk on many expat related sites for those of us Police Badgeliving in the Philippines.  Injurer.net is reporting that the prosecutor has dropped charges because the arrest and search was improper and thus the evidence cannot be used in court.  Basically because the police themselves had no personal knowledge of the situation.

The prosecutors office seems to be implying that because the person that made a report to the police was not present at the raid was a key consideration.  That person did have personal knowledge.

The Inquirer reported that the information was not present when the police visited Rohn’s house:

Cebu Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Jose Edwin Renegado said the police admitted they received the information from their civilian asset who was absent from the raid…

…He said any evidence obtained during the arrest and raid was inadmissible in court.

Does that imply that the police  can only act when they have personal knowledge unless the informant is present  when the police confront the accused?  It seems to be leaning that way but doesn’t come right out and say that.  I am uncertain.  Could the police have taken the informant to a judge and got a warrant to search Rohn’s house?

It seems that their lack of knowledge meant they entered the house without proper grounds and thus they are now unable to use the evidence:

The Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office yesterday dismissed the child abuse charges filed against American Gary Lee Rohn on the ground that the raid done by Madridejos police on his home and his warrantless arrest were not backed by evidence.

I can’t help but wonder if the prosecutor doesn’t want to test this law.  If they did test this law and the law deemed unconstitutional, then the police would loose this tool.  This is pure speculation on my part.  I don’t have a good understanding of Filipino law and this situation only makes me even more aware of that.

Rohn has other charges pending but those are in the preliminary stages.  Accusations have been made by one of the children but she made those claims because she was afraid her parents would be charged with crimes if she didn’t.  I think that would call her testimony into question.

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Filed under: Living in Cebu

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