By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) is set to adopt measures aimed at protecting the country’s lawyers as some of them have been victims of criminality, the latest was lawyer and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe who was killed on Saturday.
SC Spokesman and Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez said Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin will seek the concurrence of the SC, as a full court, to conduct an independent investigation into the killing of lawyers in the country.
As a start, Marquez said the SC will convene a dialogue between lawyers and law enforcers.
Marquez confirmed that Bersamin had received the online petition filed by members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) which urged the SC to take measures to protect its members.
The IBP asked the SC to “take immediate action to protect lawyers in the Philippines as they perform their function to protect their clients’ rights and uphold the rule of law.”
Specifically, the IBP asked the SC to “take appropriate steps to ensure a thorough, prompt, impartial, and independent investigation into all the killings of lawyers from 30 June 2016.”
“Chief Justice Bersamin joins the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in condemning in the strongest possible terms the recent spate of killings of lawyers, including judges, and calls on the concerned authorities to put an immediate stop to these senseless acts of violence within the bounds of the law, and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Marquez said.
The IBP had earlier condemned the killing of Batocabe in Albay. Another lawyer, Erfe del Castillo, survived an ambush in Talisay, Negros Occidental on Friday.
Last month, lawyer Benjamin Ramos was shot dead at the public plaza of Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental. He was the secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) in Negros Occidental and at the time of his death he was assisting the families of the victims of the Sagay massacre.