By Jeffrey Damicog
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (BP) has prodded the Supreme Court (SC) to investigate the continued killing of lawyers in the country.
IBP Presdent Abdeil Dan Elijah Fajardo made the call following the killing of another lawyer last March 13 in Tagum City Davao del Norte.
“We thus renew our call for the Supreme Court to initiate a thorough and impartial investigation into all the killings of Filipino lawyers by convening a dialogue among the Supreme Court, the IBP, State security forces, and other relevant organization, in order for the parties to engage in open and constructive discussion on ensuring the safety and security of lawyers,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the IBP condemned the killing of lawyer Rex Jasper Lopoz who was killed by unidentified gunmen last March 13 in front of a shopping mall in Tagum City.
“His death marks the most recent in a quick succession of violent attacks against lawyers, judges, and prosecutors,” said Fajardo, who noted that just last January Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro was killed in Cebu.
“We are almost losing count, but there have been 38 such reported killings since Atty. Rogelio Bato, Jr. was killed by unidentified gunmen in Tacloban, Leyte on August 23, 2016,” he said. Bato was the lawyer of slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Jr., who had been tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as a drug personality.
Because of this, Fajardo renewed calls to authorities to “solve these cases with a real sense of duty and competent dispatch.
“Lawyers, prosecutors, and judges are being targeted with surging frequency and impunity,” he lamented.
“This series of unsolved crimes against lawyers has germinated a dark halo of fear that has paralyzed the most important pillars of the justice system,” he pointed out.