IBP urges impartial probe on killing of Filipino lawyers
MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has urged the Supreme Court to convene a dialogue with state security forces and other concerned sectors for a thorough, impartial probe into the spate of killings of members of the legal profession.
The IBP, through its National President Abdiel Dan Elijah S. Fajardo, renewed its call following the death of lawyer Rex Jasper Lopoz in Tagum City, Davao del Norte last Wednesday.
“We renew our call for the Supreme Court to initiate a thorough and impartial investigation into all the killings of Filipino lawyers by convening a dialogue among the Supreme Court, the IBP, state security forces and other relevant organizations, in order for the parties to engage in open and constructive discussion on ensuring the safety and security of lawyers,” said Fajardo.
In the same statement, the IBP, the mandatory organization of lawyers with over 50,000 members, condemned the death of Lopoz.
The organization called on the police and other investigative authorities to solve the cases “with a real sense of duty and competent dispatch.”
Fajardo said lawyers, prosecutors, and judges are being targeted and the attacks are increasing.
During the Colloquium on the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Fajardo mentioned that there have been 38 reported killings since lawyer Rogelio Bato Jr. was killed in Tacloban in August 2016.
On January 17, 2019, Cebu prosecutor Mary Ann Castro was killed while lawyer Alwyn Mendoza was abducted on Feb. 23, 2019.
“This series of unsolved crimes against lawyers has germinated a dark halo of fear that has paralyzed the most important pillar of the justice system,” Fajardo said.
Data from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) showed that 24 lawyers, excluding prosecutors and judges, were killed from 2016 to end of 2018. Of this number, 15 remain unresolved. /ee
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