House probe on PNP’s ‘profiling’ of lawyers defending red-tagged individuals sought | Inquirer News
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House probe on PNP’s ‘profiling’ of lawyers defending red-tagged individuals sought

/ 06:51 PM March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Eight lawmakers in the House of Representatives are seeking an investigation on what they dubbed as Philippine National Police’s (PNP) “profiling” of lawyers defending red-tagged individuals.

House Resolution No. 1657 “strongly” urges the lower chamber, through the committee on human rights, to condemn and investigate the profiling of lawyers after a police officer in Calbayog City requested for the list of lawyers representing alleged “Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) personalities in Court.”

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The resolution was filed by Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Eufemia Cullamat, and Ferdinand Gaite; Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman; Quezon City 6th District Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte; Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro; and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago.

“Such a list or table presents a clear and present danger to the legal profession and such an apparent hitlist for targeting lawyers seems to be being prepared by the national PNP down to its lower levels, even if the PNP top brass are now denying such a policy when the letter was exposed,” the lawmakers said in the resolution.

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In the resolution, the lawmakers also cited several cases of attacks against lawyers.

Citing the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), the lawmakers said there have been at least 54 killings of lawyers and judges since June 2016.

The lawmakers cited the 2018 death of lawyer Benjamin Ramos who was representing the families of nine farmers who were killed after joining a protest in Negros Occidental, as well as the recent attack against NUPL Panay Secretary-General Angelo Guillen who stabbed on the back and in the face in Iloilo City.

“The legal community is threatened considering the current dismal human rights situation in the country and the recent attack on lawyers,” the lawmakers said.

“These brutal attacks and killings of lawyers, prosecutors and judges, are attacks also to all rights defenders and to the legal profession, which demand a thorough and impartial investigation that should be conducted posthaste,” they added.

JE

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