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When rights defenders fall victim to attacks

CHR laments killing of Cebu lawyer

/ 12:28 PM August 27, 2021
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) Read more: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1479351/cebu-lawyer-killed#ixzz74iEH0jqc Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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

MANILA, Philippines — It is tragic that lawyers, who have vowed to fight injustices and human rights violations when they took up the bar exams, are also falling victim to such attacks, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia on Friday reminded the government of its duty to protect its citizens from harm, after lawyer Rex Fernandez was killed during an ambush along R. Duterte street in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City on Thursday.

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According to De Guia, this case and all the other killings must be investigated and resolved quickly to ensure that the perpetrators and suspects would be brought to justice.

“We have also seen numerous assaults against lawyers. It is tragic that those too in the legal profession have fallen victims to injustices and human rights violations that they have sworn to fight,” she said.

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“CHR reminds the government of its obligations in upholding and protecting the rights of all. The list of unsolved cases of killings and violations of rights continue. We urge the government to swiftly act and investigate this case and hold the perpetrators to account. Justice must prevail,” she added.

For the part of the CHR, it would send out a team to do an independent probe on Fernandez’ death.

“CHR will be sending a quick reaction team to conduct an independent investigation on this incident,” De Guia assured the public.

Reports on Thursday showed that Fernandez was on board his car when a gunman opened fire at his car while it stopped at an intersection. Fernandez immediately died, while his driver was brought to the hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds.

A third passenger was reported to be inside the car and was safe, although police officers have yet to identify the driver and the other passenger’s identities.

After opening fire at Fernandez’ vehicle, the suspect who was wearing a red hoodie escaped with the help of a cohort who was aboard a motorcycle.

Previously, Fernandez drew headlines after he went on a hunger strike outside the condominium he lived in, after management cut off his water supply.  This was supposedly due to Fernandez not paying his monthly dues, as a protest against the non-provision of a breakdown on expenses.

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Hours after Fernandez’ death, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) — of which the slain lawyer was a founding member — said that people in the legal profession have been “sitting ducks” as killing of lawyers and judges have not stopped.

CHR said that no reason can ever justify the killing of a person.

“CHR decries the brazen assault against a person’s right to life. No reason can ever justify any act that will arbitrarily deprive a person of their life,” De Guia noted.

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TAGS: Cebu City, CHR, Hunger Strike, lawyer killings, lawyer Rex Fernandez, National Union of People's Lawyers, NUPL
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