Group appeals to Duterte: Stop killing lawyers
DAVAO CITY — The Davao City-based Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) has appealed to President Duterte to stop the spate of killings of lawyers following the death of Rex Jasper Lopoz, who was gunned down in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on March 13.
“UPLM calls on President Duterte, who himself is a Mindanaoan lawyer, to stop these attacks on the legal profession and the countless poor who have the least in law,” Jose Begil, chairperson of UPLM, said in a statement over the weekend.
The group made this call as they noted an increasing number of lawyers, prosecutors, and judges facing attacks under the Duterte administration.
“We are outraged that, coming on the heels of the rising number of unsolved attacks against lawyers, prosecutors, and judges, the brutal death of Atty. Rex would be part of the worsening crime statistics in the Philippines,” Begil said as he condemned the killing of Lopoz.
Lopoz was the 9th lawyer to be killed in Mindanao since Duterte assumed office in 2016. He was also the second lawyer in Mindanao killed this year.
Begil said Lopoz was a cousin of the late Prosecutor Rolando Lopoz Acido, who was shot dead by gunmen outside the Hall of Justice in Mati City, Davao Oriental on October 26, 2016.
Rex is survived by his family which includes his brothers, lawyers Jaime Lopoz and Dexter Lopoz.
The family earlier believed that Rex was a victim of impunity spawned by the government’s war on drugs.
Prior to Lopoz’s death, Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro, born in Clarin, Misamis Occidental, was murdered on January 17, 2019 in Cebu City./lzb
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