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High court action on killings of lawyers, judges sought

THE Supreme Court has been asked to act on the killing of lawyers, judges, and other members of the legal profession, the most recent a woman counsel from Danao City who was gunned down last Thursday.

Fifty-four have already been killed in the past four years.

“There have been at least 54 lawyers and judges who have become victims of extrajudicial killings and violent crimes since 2016 and we fear that the state of impunity in the country today will further fuel the spate of killings, not just against members of the legal profession but also ordinary people,” a two-page appeal by lawyers read.

“We ask the government to act and put a stop to this continuing violence,” it added.

Among the signatories were former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, former SC spokesperson Theodore Te, Atty. Howard Calleja, Far Eastern University Institute of Law Dean Mel Sta. Maria, and former Ateneo Law School dean Antonio La Viña.

The lawyers requested the high court to ensure a thorough, prompt, impartial, and independent investigation into all the killings of lawyers; convene a dialogue among the SC, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other relevant state agencies and civil society groups to discuss interventions to ensure the safety and security of lawyers; and demand accountability and justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings and violence against lawyers and judges.

“It is in this context that we write this letter to ask the Honorable Court to make representations with the authorities to act on these attacks.

The continuing, increasing and more brazen killings on Filipino lawyers and judges have been going for many years now but we noticed a sharp increase since Pres. Rodrigo Duterte came to office in 2016 and has made the legal profession one of the most dangerous careers in the country,” the lawyers said.

Last Thursday, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Atty. Baby Maria Concepcion Landero-Ole, of Camaligbato, Barangay Taboc, Danao City.

Publication Source :    People's Journal
Hector Lawas
Court reporter for more than 20 years