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Guarding Liberty’s guards

It makes perfect judicial sense.

The protectors of our liberties and rights should have their own protectors.

This is the surest way those liberties and rights would continue to be enjoyed by the people as guaranteed in the Constitution.

And once judges are in safe hands, our democracy stands on safer, firmer ground.

Thus, we fully agree with and strongly support Sen. Richard Gordon in calling for the immediate passage of a bill creating the Philippine Marshal Service that would act as an independent arm to ensure the security of the Judiciary.

Gordon made the call as he strongly condemned the killing of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 45 Judge Maria Theresa Abadilla, who was shot by her clerk of court inside her own chamber in the Manila City Hall on Wednesday.

“We strongly condemn the remorseless murder of Manila RTC Judge Maria Theresa Abadilla. This is truly unforgivable. It has never been and should never be acceptable that we allow our citizens to be killed, especially our judges,” he said.

He also urged the Department of Budget and Management to report on their recommendation so that Congress can work on the passage of the bill.

“Our judges have a vital impact on the people’s lives as they protect our liberties and rights. They help the victims of various violence and discriminations achieve justice,” the lawmaker said. “Without the judges, there can be no justice. This cruelty must stop now!”

The proposed Philippine Judicial Marshals Service Unit would be under the Office of the Court Administrator.

Under the bill, the marshals would also be tasked to conduct a confidential investigation on possible threats to a judge, conduct investigations on arrest warrants that have not been properly issued, to enforce warrants of arrest, and also make sure that forfeiture of assets is implemented, the senator added.

The incident happened around 12:45 p.m. inside Room 535 of the Manila RTC Branch 45.

The suspect, lawyer Amador Rebato, committed suicide after shooting the judge, police said.

Reports said a gunshot was heard while the victim and the suspect were inside the judge’s office.

Abadilla was brought to the nearest hospital but the attending physician could no longer revive her.

The investigation is still ongoing as the case was turned over to the Homicide Division of the Manila Police District.