IBP to set up P25M fund to protect witnesses on lawyers murders
MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) will create a P25-million Lawyers Security and Justice Fund for the protection of witnesses in the prosecution of murders committed against lawyers.
To date, there are already 48 lawyers killed from 2016 to February 28, 2020, with the death of retired Public Attorney and professor of law Bayani P. Dalangin. He was shot to death in front of his clients at his office in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.
The number of lawyers killed is a spike compared to 41 lawyers killed from 2001 to 2014 based on a report published on December 2014 by The Foundation of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the Association of European Democratic Lawyers (AED-EDL), the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy (ELDH) and the Philippine Association National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).
“(The) IBP goes beyond condemning attacks against its members. Families of slain lawyers, regardless of their status or stature can avail of IBP free legal aid. We personally and directly comfort the bereaved families. We are establishing a P 25-Million Lawyers Security and Justice Fund to reward and support crucial witnesses for the successful prosecution of the murderers of lawyers,” said Atty. Domingo Egon Cayosa, IBP National President and chairman of the IBP Board of Governors.
The IBP has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Under the MOU, the IBP shall help improve the legal knowledge and skills of police officers by conducting training programs. The IBP has also committed to provide legal assistance through its legal aid program.
The IBP shall also establish and manage appropriate incentive and reward fund to assist and encourage informants and witnesses and advocate for laws and reforms that will upgrade law enforcement.
The PNP, on the other hand shall help enhance the knowledge and skills of lawyers in security, personal defense, gun use and discipline and allow the free use of its facilities for such trainings subject to existing rules and policies.
The PNP shall also assist and facilitate the processing of the applications for license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF), firearms registration and permit to carry firearms outside residence (PPTCFOR)
The police will also provide timely assistance and protection to lawyers, prosecutors and magistrates in cases of threats or hazards in the performance of their duties and expedite investigation and give preferential attention to incidents involving violence against lawyers, prosecutors and magistrates.
Cayosa said Dalangin’s death “dramatizes the risks that workers in the Justice sector face and the tragic trend of violence and impunity in our country.”
“While we urge lawyers to courageously do their job and act within the ethical norms of the legal profession, we ask that our government will (do) its work— identify the criminals, relentlessly pursue and hold them accountable sooner than later. Justice bilis, not Justice tiis!” Cayosa said.
The IBP shall also make similar collaborations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
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