Drug clients don’t justify killing of lawyers – IBP

ILOILO CITY — The head of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Sunday expressed alarm and called for a swift resolution of the killing of an Iloilo lawyer, who served as a legal counsel of slain drug suspect Melvin Odicta.

Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, IBP national president, said the killing of of Edeljulio Romero was “among the latest in a quick succession of violent attacks against members of the legal profession.”


“His murder must be denounced by all lawyers who adhere to the rule of law and who continue to uphold the primacy of the Constitution,” Fajardo said in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

“Apathy must never be allowed to set in, because it is the mother of impunity and lawlessness,” he said.


UN principle

He said the UN’s Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers required governments to ensure that lawyers were able to perform their professional functions “without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.”

“Lawyers must not be identified with their clients’ alleged offenses—be they murder, rape, or manifold violations of the Anti-Drug Act,” the IBP head said.

“Defense lawyers are essential cogs in the administration of justice and must not be condemned for discharging their sworn constitutional duties,” he said.

Fajardo said the IBP was finalizing a resolution condemning the killing.

A gunman shot Romero at the back of the head while he was at an eatery at Culasi Port in Roxas City on Friday. The assailant fled in a sport utility vehicle with two other men.

The lawyer had stopped at the eatery while his common-law wife bought boat tickets across the street, according to Supt. Dante Tayco, Roxas City police chief.


Bulletproof vest

The couple were planning to board a roll-on, roll-off passenger ship to Manila.

Romero, 50, wore a bulletproof vest but removed it when he arrived at the eatery.

Investigators recovered two bullet shells for a 9-mm pistol and Romero’s bulletproof vest.

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TAGS: Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, drug killings, Edeljulio Romero, EJKs, extrajudicial killings, IBP, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Melvin Odicta, war on drugs
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