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After spate of killings, prosecutors seeking to arm themselves

06:44 PM May 23, 2018

“It is high time that prosecutors be armed to be able to defend themselves from attacks,” the chief of the National Prosecution Service said on Wednesday.

Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan said “the recurring and frequency of the killings of prosecutors have raised serious concerns about their safety considering that the motives of the perpetrators are cryptic just like the manner of their attack, treacherous and bestial.”

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“It is high time that a nationwide call to arm the NPS be made. That self-defense trainings and mechanisms be set in place to safeguard the very lives of these selfless public servants,” he said on Wednesday.

Catalan issued the statement after retired prosecutor Geronimo Marabe Jr. was shot to death last Tuesday.

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Marabe is the ninth prosecutor attacked since October 2016.

The other prosecutors who were attacked recently are the following:

• Mati City Prosecutor Rolando Acido: Oct. 26, 2016;
• Quezon City Prosecutor Noel Mingoa: January 11, 2017;
• Surigao Prosecutor Manuel Tesiorna: February 2017;
• Caloocan Prosecutor Diosdado Azarcon: May 2017;
• Rizal Prosecutor Maria Ronatay: July 2017;
• Reymund Luna – September 2017;
• Retired Prosecutor Pablito Gahol: September, 2017;
• Quezon City Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco: May 11, 2018

Only Tesiorna survived the attack.

“With each statistic more deliberate and brazen than the last; showing how these shameless perpetrators have become fearless of anything or anyone,” Catalan said.

“Each death of a fallen prosecutors is a tragedy, that leaves a penetrating and pricking mark. A constant reminder that another brethren fell prey to these cowardly acts by assassins hiding in their dark masks of anonymity. These deaths are occupational hazards, the risk of violence that goes with the position,” he added.

However, Catalan assured that prosecutors will not be intimated by the spate of killings of their colleagues and will continue to perform their duties under the law.

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“Make no mistake, the NPS shall stand its ground. These atrocities will never disable nor destroy this stable institution. We stand united and strong in these challenging times,” he vowed. /vvp

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