‘A serious concern’: PH Judges Association condemns killing of Ilocos Sur judge
MANILA, Philippines — “For how can justice be served if the dispensers of justice, themselves, have now become targets and victims of crimes?”
This was the question posed by the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) following the death of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 25 Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez who was killed in an ambush in La Union on Tuesday evening.
“The [PJA] deplores and condemns, in strongest possible terms, the senseless killing of Judge Bañez. This act of violence has no place in a civilized society,” PJA said in a statement.
PJA said its data showed that Bañez is the 31st judge who fell victim of violence since 1999.
Despite the incident, PJA said “although we are anxious for our own safety, incidents such as these will not diminish our resolve to perform our functions and duties to dispense justice.”
“Instead, we join hands and just trust the system to let justice prevail and rule of law reign. We shall remain steadfast and continue to be vigilant during these times of trials and challenges,” it added.
PJA said it is coordinating with the Office of the Court Administrator and the Philippine National Police for the resolution of the case.
Further, PJA also called for concerned authorities to protect its peers.
It also extended its condolences to the family of Bañez.
“While we are deeply saddened by the loss of another brethren, we will not, however, be discouraged to perform our tasks,” PJA said.
“We will remain undaunted by the difficulties and risk that may come our way. We shall continue to pursue what we have solemnly vowed to do as members of the Judiciary without fear or favor,” it added.
In July, Senator Leila De Lima called for the investigation into the deaths of lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
Several international lawyers and groups have also previously called on President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate the killings of lawyers and jurists in the country.
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