SC justice bats for judicial marshals bill amid spate of lawyer killings
MANILA, Philippines — Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Marvic Leonen expressed hopes Friday that Congress will soon pass the bill seeking the establishment of judicial marshals amid the spate of lawyer killings in the country.
During the online forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Leonen said the justices of the Supreme Court are “always bothered and concerned” with the continuing attacks on members of the legal profession in the Philippines.
“Many of us are always bothered when somebody’s life is taken needlessly, regardless of the circumstances,” Leonen said.
“We are hoping that sooner or later Congress passes the bill that I think we have supported to create judicial marshals in order to expand our capability to internally protect the judges that we have on the field,” he added.
There are several bills in the Senate and the House of Representatives pushing for the creation of the Philippine Marshal Service, which would ensure the security of justices, judges, and court officials.
Leonen said that unlike Supreme Court justices, trial court judges face threats to their lives on their own.
“Supreme Court justices, there are 15 of us and if one wants to win their case they have to threaten at least eight but for trial court judges, they are alone,” Leonen said.
“They face all these challenges and obstacles and threats by their lonesome and we have tried our best to be able to provide them with as much personal security as possible and we hope that that bill on judicial marshals will pass but I think that we are looking at an early approval if many of the statements made by our senators and members of the House is to be taken into consideration,” he added.
Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez earlier said they had already met with lawyers’ organizations and government institutions to discuss the attacks on lawyers in the country.
In November 2020 alone, Atty. Eric Jay Magcamit in Palawan and Atty. Joey Luis Wee in Cebu—both were killed in broad daylight.
In December, another lawyer from Cebu, Maria Concepcion Landero-Ole was killed and in the same month, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed that the mutilated body found in Tarlac was that of retired Court of Appeals Associate Justice Normandie Pizarro.
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