Solon asks DOJ to give prosecutors new tools to use vs assassins
A congressman and former Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) official called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday to issue bullet-proof vests and other protective devices to government prosecutors, saying they were most at risk because of the highly sensitive cases they were handling.
Need for protection
1-Ang Edukasyon party-list Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr., House assistant majority floor leader, said in a statement that public prosecutors “badly need new tools for both defense and offense against the assassins who are hunting them down.”
Belaro made the appeal after Quezon City Deputy Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco was shot dead in an ambush shortly after leaving Quezon City Hall on Friday.
The lawmaker also filed a resolution directing the House committees on public order and safety and on justice to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the killing of Velasco and other prosecutors.
“The first moments of an ambush are the most crucial to the survival of prosecutors marked as prey. They are often shot at while in their motor vehicles. Those vehicles need protection technology,” Belaro added.
He said that given the threat levels they face, prosecutors must be adequately armed for self-defense—not just with guns—but also with other technologies “that will buy them those precious few seconds to escape from an ambush or flee from a kill zone.”
He cited acting Prosecutor-General Jorge Catalan who earlier said that since July 2016, a government prosecutor had been killed every one or two months, with the murders often left unsolved.
Culprits are also often not brought to justice because investigators have very few clues to work with and their targets “work in the shadows, in the underground, or may be hidden in plain sight,” Belaro said.
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