Nancy Binay condemns murder of NUPL lawyer
Senator Nancy Binay condemned on Friday the killing of human rights Lawyer Benjamin “Ben” Ramos in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, saying the “pattern of violence against lawyers” and the spate of killings in the country are “clear threats to rule of law and democracy.”
“The cases of assassinations, harassments, threats, and other forms of attacks on lawyers are not only alarming but are clear threats to the rule of law and democracy,” Binay said in a statement as she called for an investigation into the murder of Ramos, the 34th lawyer killed in the past two years under the Duterte administration.
“The number of lawyers killed since 2016 is unacceptably high and there is already a significant pattern of violence against legal practitioners,” the senator lamented.
Ramos was the secretary-general of the National Union of People’s Lawyer (NUPL) in Negros Occidental and was a human rights defender who took on pro bono cases representing some of the most marginalized sectors in the Philippines.
He served as one of the lawyers helping the families of the sugar workers killed in Sagay, Negros Occidental. He also worked for the six individuals who were arrested in Mabinay, Negros Oriental after they were accused of clashing with government troops but tested negative for gunpowder residue.
“We need to demonstrate that lawyers in the Philippines can practice their profession and defend their clients without threat. Nor should they fear of being intimidated because of their advocacies,” Binay stressed.
“In a nation of laws, it should never be the norm to attack those in the legal profession who defend those who have less in life. If we value freedom and democracy, and if we want our people to have more in law, silencing lawyers is not the answer,” she added. /muf
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