IBP seeks for 'more effective' solution on cases of slain lawyers, judges in PH | Inquirer News
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IBP seeks for ‘more effective’ solution on cases of slain lawyers, judges in PH

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @CeBacligINQ
/ 12:39 PM December 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) asked President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo to have “a more coordinated, effective and sustainable solution” to the killing of lawyers in the country.

“We appeal to our brother-lawyers in all branches of government who occupy positions of great authority and power to take concerted action to decisively address attacks on lawyers,”  IBP President Domingo Cayosa said in a letter sent to Duterte and Robredo dated Dec. 17 and released to media on Tuesday.

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“We recognize and appreciate your commitment and efforts to improve our criminal justice system, yet much can still be done. Unfortunately, lawyers, the sentinels of the rule of law, continue to be ironically caught in the spiraling violence and flawed or slow justice.”

Duterte, before being appointed as vice mayor in Davao City in 1986, worked as special counsel and city prosecutor under the Davao City prosecutor’s office.

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While Robredo, an advocate lawyer, passed the bar on May 7, 1997 in Naga City and used to work with the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

“When lawyers, prosecutors, and workers in the justice sector are murdered with impunity and alarming regularity, no one feels safe, our people lose trust and faith in our government and its justice system, and the unscrupulous are emboldened to take the law in their criminal hands,” said Cayosa.

“Lawyers who are trained and sworn to be courageous sentinels of the rule of law may understandably waver and worry about their own security and safety thereby allowing more space for violence and fear to rule instead. As we recognize our responsibilities and our shortcomings, let us lead to restore and maintain the rule of law,” he added.

IBP sought attention, guidance, and action on the 54 documented cases of slain lawyers since July 1, 2016, as well as the unsolved cases during the previous administrations.

READ: PH facing int’l scrutiny over rising attacks on lawyers

“We seek this not only on behalf of the slain lawyers, their families, and the legal profession but more importantly, for our country that has long suffered from creeping criminality and delayed or denied response,” Cayosa explained.

The IBP also stated that it has “gone beyond the traditional public statements of condemnation and demand for action on the part of the government” and has set up the Lawyer Justice and Security Program.

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Under the program, IBP partnered with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to Cayosa, they also offer services such as: “lawyer security training and assistance; a Php 25,000,000.00 fund for crucial information and witnesses necessary to hold lawyer-killers accountable; monitoring the progress of cases; legal assistance; a prompt, direct and personal visit to and communication/coordination with the bereaved IBP national and local leaders; public awareness and advocacy activities.”

IBP said the program produced positive results and was instrumental in bringing timely resolution and breakthroughs in the recent cases involving slain lawyers Atty. Eric Jay Magcamit from Palawan and Atty. Joey Luis Wee from Cebu City.

Judges, public prosecutors, and defense lawyers were also urged to do “JUSTICE BILIS” and equitably finish cases.

“Aside from addressing its root causes, certainty and timeliness of accountability and punishment is a proven antidote to criminality and impunity,” the IBP president stated.

“Your IBP under our watch continues to pursue novel and effective ways of addressing violence against lawyers, but we can only do so much. Your leadership in ensuring justice for the victims, proactively preventing more violence, and restoring our people’s faith and trust the rule of law and governance is certainly crucial,” added Cayosa, addressing government officials and those who work in the justice sector.

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TAGS: IBP, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Killings, lawyers, Leni Robredo, Rodrigo Duterte
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