By Mario Casayuran
Senator Nancy Binay condemned on Friday the killing of human rights lawyer Benjamin “Ben” Ramos in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental.
Binay also expressed alarm over the “pattern of violence against lawyers” and called on concerned authorities to investigate the spate of killings in the country.
“We convey our deepest sympathy to the family of Atty. Ben and condemn in the strongest terms his brutal slaying,” she said.
‘’In a nation of laws, silencing lawyers is not the norm,’’ she pointed out.
“The cases of assassinations, harassments, threats, and other forms of attacks on lawyers are not only alarming but are clear threats to the rule of law and democracy,” she added.
According to the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer (NUPL), Ramos is the 34th lawyer killed in the past two years.
“The number of lawyers killed since 2016 is unacceptably high and there is already a significant pattern of violence against legal practitioners,” Binay said.
Ramos served as one of the lawyers helping the families of the sugar workers killed in Sagay, Negros Occidental.
He was also the lawyer of the Mabinay 6 — the six people who were arrested in Mabinay, Negros Oriental. They were accused of clashing with government troops but tested negative for gunpowder residue.
“We need to demonstrate that lawyers in the Philippines can practice their profession and defend their clients without threat. Nor should they fear of being intimidated because of their advocacies,” she said.
“In a nation of laws, it should never be the norm to attack those in the legal profession who defend those who have less in life. If we value freedom and democracy, and if we want our people to have more in law, silencing lawyers are not the answer,” Binay added.