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SC, various groups join forces to address killings of lawyers

SC, various groups join forces to address killings of lawyers

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has been working with other legal institutions to deal with continuing attacks on members of the legal profession.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said they had already met with lawyers’ organizations and government institutions to discuss the matter.

Last Jan. 8, Marquez said they met with representatives of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Philippine Bar Association (PBA) and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL.)

Then, on Jan. 11, he said he met with the Department of Justice and representatives from its attached agencies–Prosecutors’ League, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO).

Marquez also met with representatives from the Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police. A separate meeting was also held with the Commission on Human Rights, Law School Deans, judges and clerks of court.

“We are now drafting our report to be submitted to the Chief Justice who instructed us to meet with all stakeholders and find ways on how this can be addressed,” Marquez said.

A day after the last meeting was held, Atty. Winston Intong was gunned down while he was buying vegetables near his house in Bukidnon.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they would draw up an inventory of cases that are under investigation, are undergoing preliminary investigation and those that have reached the court for trial to monitor its progress closely.

“In this regard, the DOJ will come up with an inventory of cases under investigation by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), under preliminary investigation by the prosecution service, and undergoing trial in court, [to monitor] their progress very closely,” Guevarra

Based on a report published in December 2014 by The Foundation of the Day of the Endangered  Lawyer,  the  Association of  European  Democratic  Lawyers  (AED-EDL),  the European  Association of  Lawyers for  Democracy  (ELDH)  and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), 41 lawyers have been killed since 2001 to 2014.

The number is low compared to the more than 50 lawyers killed since 2016 only.

In November 2020 alone, killed are Atty. Eric Jay Magcamit in Palawan and Atty. Joey Luis Wee in Cebu. They were both killed in broad daylight.

In December, another lawyer from Cebu, Maria Concepcion Landero-Ole was killed. That same month, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has confirmed that the mutilated body found in Tarlac was that of retired Court of Appeals Associate Justice Normandie Pizarro.

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