Red-tagged rights lawyer thwarts armed attack
ILOILO CITY (Updated) — A Red-tagged human rights lawyer and anti-mining advocate in Capiz escaped an armed attack Monday morning.
Lawyer Criselda Azarcon-Heredia posted on her Facebook page around noon that she was ambushed. She was unharmed along with her 26-year-old daughter.
Heredia’s husband John said their daughter was driving a Toyota Fortuner with his wife and a client in Panit-an town at about 11:15 a.m. when armed men in at least one motorcycle chased and fired at the vehicle.
Their daughter managed to speed off while covering her mother until the vehicle fell into a ditch.
There were at least nine bullet holes in the vehicle, Mr. Heredia said.
According to an initial report from the Capiz Police Provincial Office, Heredia’s client sustained minor injuries and was brought to Panitan Rural Health Unit for treatment.
Investigators have yet to identify the motive for the crime.
According to the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL)-Panay chapter, Heredia, one of the group’s members, just came from a hearing before the incident.
Heredia is among the members of the NUPL in Panay whose photographs were printed in posters in Iloilo accusing them of supporting the New People’s Army and “terrorists.”
She is serving as one of the legal counsels of political detainees.
An environmental advocate, Heredia is also among those at the forefront in the campaign to ban large-scale mining activities in Capiz.
The NUPL-Panay condemned the attack decrying the continued killing of members of the legal community.
“Since July 2016, when President Rodrigo R. Duterte came to power, attacks against lawyers have mounted, 47 deaths as of this time. The figure also includes judges and public prosecutors,” the NUPL-Panay said in its statement./lzb, je
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