Ex-rebel tagged in killing of Leyte lawyer | Inquirer News

Ex-rebel tagged in killing of Leyte lawyer

/ 05:00 AM August 24, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY—Authorities are hunting down a rebel returnee who was suspected of shooting and killing a lawyer in Villaba town, Leyte province, on Tuesday.

Police said witnesses told investigators that they saw the former rebel, whom they identified as one Butchoy Oliverio, approach lawyer Elmer Mape, who was gathering newly harvested corn in his farm at Barangay Calbugos at 4 p.m. Tuesday. They said Oliverio drew his gun and shot Mape twice.

Mape, 52, died while being taken to a hospital in Ormoc City, about 39 kilometers from Villaba.Police Lt. Col. Ma. Bella Rentuaya, spokesperson for the Eastern Visayas police, said Mape had a bullet wound that pierced his heart.


Mape was the third lawyer murdered in Leyte in 18 years, after Fedelito Dacut, who was killed in 2005, and Rogelio Bato Jr., slain in 2016. Bato was the lawyer of the late Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and his son, Ronald “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr., who were linked by former President Rodrigo Duterte to the illegal drug trade.


A team from the 2nd Leyte Provincial Mobile Force Company and the Villaba police was formed to pursue and arrest Oliverio.

Police said they were looking at “several angles” in the attack but declined to give details on the possible motives pending investigation.


Lawyer Jay Viagedor, a friend of Mape’s, appealed to the police to hasten the investigation.

“We hope that the real perpetrator will be arrested,” Viagedor said, noting that he has “some reservations” about the suspect identified by the police.

Viagedor believed politics had something to do with the attack, alleging that Mape was a known critic of a former official in the province.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Leyte chapter condemned Mape’s murder.


“The IBP Leyte chapter is saddened to know of the unexpected demise of Attorney Elmer Mape. As of today, we are uncertain as to the motive of the untoward act and we do not want to preempt any investigation being conducted. Still, one thing is certain: a lawyer died by means of violence,” it said in a statement.

“IBP, as a group, strongly condemns the use of violence against lawyers and ordinary people. Also, IBP, as a local organization of lawyers, will ensure to protect the rights of its members while in the performance of their official/public duties. We know our law enforcement agencies are now conducting a thorough, proper and holistic investigation so that the perpetrator will be swiftly and truly held accountable,” it added.

In November 2022, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) asked the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to hold the government accountable for the continuing attacks against lawyers, prosecutors and judges in the Philippines.

The group filed a complaint in Geneva, Switzerland, ahead of the Universal Periodic Review of the country’s human rights record by the UNHRC.

According to NUPL, as of November 2022, a total of 133 lawyers had been killed in the country since 1986. Of the 133 deaths, 59 were recorded during Duterte’s presidency.

Lawyer Alberto Hidalgo, past president of IBP Leyte chapter, described the slaying of Mape as an affront to the judicial system.

“If Mape had done something wrong, he should be brought to court. He did not deserve to be killed,” Hidalgo said.



Cases filed vs 2 Leyte cops for allegedly harassing 3 reporters

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Media task force seeks probe into harassment vs 3 reporters in Leyte

TAGS: slain lawyers

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.