Sereno says inaction on lawyers’ slayings shatters hopes for ‘humane future’
In the wake of the killing of a human rights lawyer in Negros Occidental, former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said that “any government that does not act to stop the rampant” attack on defense lawyers “extinguishes hopes for a just and humane future.”
“Any government that does not act to stop the rampant killing of defense lawyers, by such inaction, kills not only its citizens and their defenders,” Sereno said in a statement on Wednesday.
“But also the rule of law, and thereby, extinguishes hopes for a just and humane future,” she added.
Earlier, lawyer Benjamin Ramos was shot dead by “riding-in-tandem” hitmen in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental.
Ramos was the secretary-general for the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)-Negros.
He was also a lawyer of the “Mabinay 6” and part of the Quick Reaction Team that assisted the peasants in Sagay, Negros.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police has ordered the immediate investigation of the death of the lawyer.
At least 20 members of militant groups staged an indignation rally in front of the Fountain of Justice in Bacolod about 3 p.m. on Wednesday to demand justice on the death of Ramos.
Weeks before the ambush, Ramos reportedly received threats sent through text.
In a statement, NUPL said Ramos was taking a break after he had just finished preparing a legal document for a client when the assailants shot him.
But Supt. Jonel Guadalupe, chief of the Kabankalan City police station, said witnesses told them that Ramos just finished playing mahjong near a store when the incident happened.
“Accordingly, he was playing mahjong in the place. Our witnesses can attest to that,” he told the Inquirer.
Guadalupe said investigators were considering all possible motives behind the killing of Ramos.
“But most likely, it had something to do with the cases he handled. We will continue to investigate,” he added.
Guadalupe said witnesses told them that the driver of the getaway motorcycle wore a helmet while the gunman covered his face with a mask. —With a report from Inquirer Visayas /ac
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