Manila prosecutors demand justice for slain colleague
Dozens of Manila city prosecutors on Friday protested the brutal killing of their chief inquest prosecutor Jovencio Senados, who was ambushed early this week as he was heading to work.
With the words “Justice for prosecutor Jovencio Senados” on their black shirts, around 50 of Senados’ colleagues from the Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) went out of their offices on the third floor of the Manila City Hall to express their indignation, and to pray and light candles in his memory.
“We’re demoralized right now. We are hurt. We are also scared for our security,” said Bernard Almeda, president of Prosecutors’ League of Manila.
An unknown assailant in a black Montero sport utility vehicle (SUV) shot Senados, 62, inside his car on Quirino Avenue as he was being driven to his office on Tuesday. He was killed outright with multiple bullet wounds to the head.
His nephew, who served as his driver, was unharmed.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra immediately ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the killing.
Almeda said Senados was killed in the first such attack against a Manila prosecutor.
Senados worked at the Manila OCP for over 20 years. He also served as president of the Prosecutors’ League of Manila.
Fellow prosecutors said that Senados was planning to retire early next year.
As Manila’s chief inquest prosecutor, Senados’ job was “sensitive,” according to Almeda.
“He was always reporting at work when needed. He was a very good prosecutor,” Almeda said.
During their protest, Almeda said prosecutors were asking authorities to provide them better protection.
‘Permit to carry’
“We’re asking the President to help us have better security. We’re hoping to be exempted from the long requirements in securing the permit to carry firearms,” he said.
They also asked for increased police visibility and “proper investigation” by the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police, Almeda added.
Senados’ nephew told investigators his uncle did not mention receiving any death threats.
But NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin on Friday said Senados’ cell phone would be subjected to forensic examination to check whether he had received any threats.
The police is still looking for the black SUV and a red Innova, which had slowed down in front of Senados’ car in order for the assailant to catch up and shoot him.
Tailed on SLEx
Senados’ nephew told investigators that he had noticed the Innova as they were traveling on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) from the prosecutor’s home in Calamba, Laguna province.
Manila Police District director Police Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda said the license plate of the SUV belonged to another vehicle.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said Senados was the 50th victim of fatal attacks on lawyers, prosecutors and judges since President Duterte took office in 2016.
Based on the spent casings recovered at the scene, police said the gunman used a high-powered firearm.