Palace vows action on lawyers’ killings
Malacañang on Thursday said it supports the statement of the Supreme Court strongly condemning threats and assaults directed at lawyers and judges, and vowed that the executive would investigate these incidents without delay.
While President Rodrigo Duterte has not publicly addressed the attacks, his spokesperson Harry Roque said the Chief Executive, as a lawyer himself, is concerned about what is happening to members of the law profession.
“He does not need to speak about this, he has given an order that the police and the [National Bureau of Investigation] have to conduct a swift and thorough investigation of the killings taking place. The President used to be a prosecutor and he is also concerned that his fellow lawyers have become victims as well,” Roque said at a press briefing.
“Of course, when a lawyer is attacked, it is also an attack on the rule of law,” he added.
Duty of the state
The Supreme Court, in its statement, also said it had asked lower courts and law enforcement agencies to provide it with relevant information on the number and context of the threats and killings of lawyers and judges in the past 10 years.
It also called on public interest groups, lawyers and judges, and other citizens to provide “vetted information” on threats or killings.
Roque said the President had promised to implement the law, and the Department of Justice had declared that its interagency panel would also focus on the killings of lawyers.
“The executive will carry out the duty of the state when it comes to the killing of its citizens. This is a swift investigation and the provision of remedy provided by the law to the victims,” he said.
Asked if he considered the Supreme Court statement an indication that law enforcers had failed to adequately address the threats to the judiciary, he said there is no guarantee that the right to life will not be violated.
“The obligation really is to provide remedy and investigate and punish those who are conducting the killings,” Roque said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.