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Foreign lawyers to probe attacks on Filipino counterparts

/ 09:28 PM March 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyers from various international organizations will conduct fact-finding missions on various attacks against members of the legal profession in the Philippines.

Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016, the number of attacks against members of the Bench and the Bar have increased, records showed.

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Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) National President Abdeil Dan Elijah Fajardo revealed that since August 2016, there are already 38 attacks against members of the legal profession here.

The figure is higher compared to the 27 lawyers killed in eight years — from 2006 to 2014 — based on data from the international organization Lawyers for Lawyers.

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National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) President Edre Olalia said the lawyers from International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA) or the International Association of Lawyers will be looking at 15 incidents in various places from Luzon to Mindanao.

Established in 1927, UIA has members from over 100 countries.

Meanwhile, the IADL, which was established in 1946, has protested racism, colonialism, and economic and political injustice wherever they interfere with legal and human rights. Its members will be interviewing lawyers who survived the attacks as well as the relatives of those who were killed.

Olalia said the 15 cases include three judges, two prosecutors, and lawyers, half of whom are NUPL members. NUPL members have been under attack, and most have been tagged as members of the Communist party.

At the start of the mission, the IBP and NUPL held a colloquium on the UN Basic Principles on the role of lawyers focusing on the Philippines.

On the eve of the event, lawyer Rex Jasper Lopoz was killed. Authorities said Lopoz was handling sensitive cases, including drugs.

READ: Another lawyer slain in Tagum; family blames Duterte’s drug war

The foreign lawyers are expected to release a report next week.

According to Olalia, the report may be submitted to organizations like the UN and the ICC to help establish the human rights situation in the country. /ee

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TAGS: foreign lawyers, lawyers killing, Murder, NUPL, Philippine News
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