Probers eye work-related motive in killing of lawyer in Palawan
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, Philippines — A private lawyer was shot dead by two unidentified men while he was on his way to a court hearing on Tuesday morning in the village of Malinao in Narra town, Palawan province.
Eric Jay Magcamit, 35, was flagged down by his assailants on board a motorcycle while driving his Toyota Innova car and was gunned down moments after he was told to step out of his vehicle at 7 a.m.
Police investigators said they were looking at a work-related angle in the killing.
Magcamit handled civil and criminal litigation, dispute resolution, election laws, labor relations, immigration, real estate transactions, succession and family relations, according to his profile from the law firm Timbreza, Magcamit, Gonzales (TMG) Law Palawan.
He was the 52nd member of the legal profession slain since 2016, when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, based on unofficial media tally, and the second homicide victim in Narra town this month, after the Nov. 6 killing of Roderick Aperocho, chair of Barangay Poblacion.
The IBP chapter condemned the “brutal killing” of Magcamit, calling it an “attack [on] the legal order and justice system by means of fear and violence.”
“It is our consistent stand that violence has no place in this civilized society, especially against those in the legal profession who are courageously helping in the administration of justice,” it said in a statement.
“This tragic incident is not only an attack [on] a member of the IBP but also an attack [on] the legal order and justice system by means of fear and violence. The perpetrators must be swiftly brought into the hands of the law by those in authority.”
Narra Mayor Crispin Lumba, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, said Magcamit was passing through Narra on his way to an 8:30 a.m. hearing in nearby Quezon town when he was attacked by his killers armed with .45-caliber pistols along a village road in Sitio Caraniogan, a farming area that is sparsely populated but still part of the town center.
The lawyer had bullet wounds in his right cheek and left leg.
The gunmen fled immediately after the shooting, he said.
Police said the victim had earlier told his wife, Prosecutor Ethel Alvarez-Magcamit, that he was being tailed by unidentified people aboard a vehicle.
Investigators had secured a dash camera footage of the two suspects and were checking images caught by other security cameras in Narra.
Lumba said he would intensify police visibility in Narra following the attack.
“A month ago, before the shooting of [barangay captain] Aperocho, we have already requested additional police forces here in Narra because we have only few now … We used to have 15, now we have 20 police personnel,” he added.
The IBP-Palawan chapter described Magcamit as “persevering and courageous.”
“His dedication and commitment to uphold the ends of justice has illumined until his last breath. We deeply mourn for the loss of a brother,” it said.
Magcamit was admitted to the bar in 2010 after graduating from Palawan State University School of Law (PSU-SOL) in 2009. A scholar of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Science Education Institute, he was a cum laude graduate of Environmental Science at PSU in 2005.
The judges of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City urged the legal community to condemn in the “strongest terms possible the outrageous murder” of Magcamit.
“We implore the law enforcement authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder of Atty. Magcamit and bring to justice those responsible,” they said in a statement.
In another statement, lawyer Maria Gisela Josol-Trampe, associate dean of PSU-SOL, called on authorities to “swiftly bring the perpetrators of this abominable crime to face the full brunt of the law.”
“The PSU-School of Law community strongly condemns the brutal killing of one of our very own, Atty. Eric James A. Magcamit, a brother, a loving husband and father, a very good friend, and a dedicated and passionate officer of the court,” the statement said.
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