Lawyers, prosecutors and
judges have been recently
murdered and assaulted making the legal profession a very
Nationwide the statistics
of lawyer, judges and prosecutors assaulted have risen to
up. The Integrated Bar of the
Philippines has accounted 64
lawyers murdered under the
Charges has been filed since 2004 in which lawyers were victims,
underscoring the lack of accountability for serious crimes in the Philippines.
One of two nongovernmental groups that track killings of lawyers the Free Legal
Assistance Group (FLAG), said more than half were work-related. The National Union of People’s Lawyers
(NUPL), which also monitors attacks,
said most of those
killed represented either victims of
the “war on drugs” or victims of human rights violations. The NUPL said, “almost all perpetrators have never been brought to the
bar of justice.”
On 23 March, the Supreme Court of the Philippines issued a statement against
these attacks and described them as an “assault on the judiciary”.
The Supreme Court
also pledged to take action, including issuing a call to lower courts and law
enforcement officials for information on incidents of threats and killings over
the past 10 years. On 24 March, the Senate adopted a resolution also condemning the brazen attacks against judges and
Recently, a masked gunman stealthily
approached and shot lawyer Rex Fernandez with a .45 caliber pistol as
Fernandez’s vehicle slowed down at a busy junction along Salvador Street, Sitio
Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe, at around 4:10 pm. After the shooting, the killer
fled on board a motorcycle driven by a co-conspirator.
Fernandez, 64, died on the spot from
multiple gunshot wounds.
The unabated killing of judges,
prosecutors, and lawyers has prompted the Supreme Court to act. In a statement
dated 27 August 2021, the highest court condoled with Fernandez’s family and
friends. Expressing concern over Fernandez’s ambush-slay, the court remarked
through Associate Justice Marvic Leoned “The killing of any lawyer is of
serious concern to all of us.” He further said that, “Violence, solves nothing.
It is anathema to the rule of law.”
The court, Leonen said, continues “to
sift through and analyze the voluminous records and reports submitted to us
upon our call to discern whether there are patterns in the killing of lawyers
and threats to judges so that we can evaluate a strategic response”.
I am reminded that the IBP launched the
Lawyers Security and Justice Fund. Whatever happens to that program in
the wake of the recent event needs to be refined to ensure effectiveness.
Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa, the then IBP national president and Board of Governors
chairman, announced that IBP was establishing a ₱25-million Lawyers Security
and Justice Fund. The fund will be used, Cayosa said, “to reward and support
crucial witnesses in the successful prosecution of the murderers of lawyers.”
In order “to more effectively protect lawyers,” Cayosa added that the
IBP signed on 2 March 2020 the Philippine National Police-IBP Memorandum of
Understanding on Lawyers Security. Hope this program sees light.
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