SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has expressed his condemnation of the rise in the number of lawyers killed in the country in recent years. He called on Filipinos to unite and cooperate with the government to help resolve pressing issues and challenges hounding the country.
In an interview after personally leading the distribution of assistance to 1,000 TODA members and 650 families affected by Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City, Leyte on Thursday, March 18, Go mentioned that President Rodrigo Duterte, who is a lawyer himself, shares his sentiments because the President is fully aware of the essential role lawyers serve in the country’s justice system.
“Huwag natin ibintang sa gobyerno o kay Pangulong Duterte [the killing of lawyers]. Abogado rin po ang ating Pangulo and I’m sure di po siya papayag na merong mamamatay na abogado,” Go said.
“Ako naman kinokondena ko po ‘yun na may namamatay,” he added, emphasizing that such acts of violence are not tolerated and sanctioned by the government.
In an independent tally released by the Free Legal Assistance Group on Wednesday, 61 lawyers, judges, and prosecutors have been killed since 2016. The group said that 43% of the killings are “deemed work-related,” or associated with the victims’ legal profession.
Go lamented that the unfounded accusations and biases against the government are only hurting the country’s efforts in combatting various national issues, such as the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Karapatan n’yo po magsalita, this is democracy, karapatan n’yo po i-criticize ang gobyerno, pero di po ‘yan nakakatulong,” he said.
While he acknowledged the rights of individuals to freedom of expression, Go said that this should not be weaponized to hamper progress in the country and, instead, be used to support the government’s efforts towards resolving social and economic issues.
“Tumulong na lang po tayo, tulungan n’yo po ang gobyerno, mas maa-appreciate po ‘yan ng tao, batikos di po ‘yan nakakain, criticize di nakakatulong pero ‘yung tulong, ‘yun ang kailangan ng kapwa,” he said.