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Cebu lawyer killed

By: - Reporter / @nestleCDN
/ 07:24 PM August 26, 2021
Cebu lawyer shot dead days after going on hunger strike to slam condo management

Lawyer Rex Jose Mario Fernandez is felled by an unknown assailant along R. Duterte Street in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City on Thursday, August 26. (NESTLE SEMILLA/INQUIRER VISAYAS)

CEBU CITY – A veteran lawyer, who recently held a “hunger strike” after the management of the condominium he was living in cut his water supply, was shot dead by a still unknown assailant along R. Duterte Street in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City on Thursday, August 26.

Lawyer Rex Jose Mario Fernandez (Photo courtesy of Atty. Rex Fernandez Facebook page)

Lawyer Rex Jose Mario Fernandez, 62, was on board his car when he was shot by the gunman who waited for him in a corner at around 4:10 p.m., according to Police Major Jonathan Dela Cerna, chief of the Guadalupe Police Station.

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Fernandez’s driver, who police investigators have not yet identified, sustained gunshot wounds to his body and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

A woman in the back seat of the car survived although investigators have yet to determine her identity.

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A closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the area showed that the lone gunman, who wore a red jacket, immediately boarded a getaway motorcycle driven by another person.

At least six empty shells of a .45 caliber pistol were recovered at the crime scene.

In a tally made by the Inquirer, at least 15 lawyers in Cebu had been killed since 2004.

Last November 23, 2020, lawyer Joey Luis Wee was also killed while he was walking from his car up to the stairs of his office in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City.

Lawyer Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), decried the murder of Fernandez, who was a founding member of the group in 2007 and a counsel of human rights organization Karapatan.

“No words, indeed. Another colleague has fallen with his boots on. We had lost count. It has not stopped and every lawyer is a sitting duck,” he said in a statement.

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Olalia described Fernandez as “passionate, intense and brave, even as he was unique in many ways.”

Fernandez, he added, handled many cases of activists.

“Even after he became inactive in NUPL later, he continued to collaborate with fellow human rights lawyers in public interest cases,” Olalia said.

“Before he was silenced, he castigated the present administration which he had hitherto placed his sincere hope on would bring change. He died disillusioned that it was not meant to be. Rest in peace already Rex. You fought a good fight,” he added.

Hunger strike

Last August 13, 2021, Fernandez held a “hunger strike” after the management of the condominium he was living in cut his water supply even though he secured an injunction against the developer.

He placed a tent at the condominium entrance in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City and expressed his sentiments through the media.

In an earlier interview, Fernandez said he conducted the hunger strike to send a message to Contempo Property Holdings Inc., who developed and managed the condominium, that their gesture of cutting his water supply for non-payment of condominium corporation dues deprived him of his right to live.

A representative of the developer claimed that the payment of condominium corporation dues was necessary as it helps sustain their operations.

Since Fernandez started occupying his condo unit in 2018, the lawyer said the management asked him for condominium corporation dues worth P90 per square meter or equivalent to P3,240 per month.

Fernandez questioned the management and asked them for the computation of his condominium dues. However, the management reportedly didn’t respond to his concern, prompting Fernandez to not pay the condominium dues since then.

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TAGS: Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, Cebu lawyer, Rex Jose Mario Fernandez
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