Another lawyer gunned down in Bukidnon
Updated @ 2:17 .am., July 30, 2019
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Philippines — Lawyer Nicolas Gomez Jr., 67, was walking alone past a bakery in downtown Valencia in Bukidnon province on Sunday night when he was shot several times by one of two men riding on an XRM motorcycle.
“He was supposed to appear [in] court in Malaybalay today (Monday),” Col. Surki Sereñas, Valencia police chief, said in an interview.
While Sereñas surmised that the killing was related to a land dispute, it nevertheless served to underscore the phenomenon of extrajudicial killings now involving lawyers among the fatalities — a public concern also expressed by the country’s bar organization.
Police could not get a clear view of Gomez’s killers from video footage since their faces were partially covered, Sereñas said.
They are looking into reports about disputes involving properties occupied by Gomez. Aside from his residential lot in Davao province, the lawyer was said to own property in Project 4, Quezon City.
In Negros Oriental, about 300 members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) will be deployed following the recent spate of extrajudicial killings in the province, which have raised public concern nationwide.
Since last week, 13 people have been killed in the province, including lawyer Anthony Trinidad who was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men in Guihulngan City on July 23.
Four policemen were also killed in an ambush claimed by New People’s Army rebels in Ayungon town on July 14. President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed outrage over the attack.
“We are looking into these killings. This is the very reason why we deployed 300 more personnel from the SAF to augment our local police there and [we’re] also [considering] deployment from the military, particularly from the Philippine Army,” Gen. Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police chief, said at a press conference in Manila on Monday.
At a press conference in Cebu City, also on Monday, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, police director in Central Visayas, said: “The killings [in Negros Oriental] were isolated. But not all (cases) have personal (grudge) as motive … .”
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said Trinidad’s killing “added to the growing list of murders and attempts on the life of lawyers, judges and prosecutors” in the country.
“Filipino lawyers and our country demand that law enforcement, investigating and prosecuting agencies of government do their job well and with dispatch, lest everyone lose trust and hope in our justice system and government,” IBP president Domingo Cayosa said in the statement. —With reports from Carla P. Gomez and Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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