IBP condemns Archival’s killing

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


THE killing of lawyer Noel D. Archival, 52, by unidentified assailants in Dalaguete, Cebu yesterday afternoon drew the ire of his colleagues.

The brutal nature of his death also revived talks to arm lawyers.

Cebu has a long history of murdered lawyers. Four of them died in the last 10 years.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City chapter, in a statement, describes the killing of Archival as “merciless.” It calls on the police to “expedite the investigation and identify the perpetrators.”

Lawyer Elaine Bathan, IBP Cebu City chapter president, called for justice for Archival’s family and the families of his companions who were also slain during the ambush.

She said Archival, a member of the IBP Cebu Province chapter, was a respected colleague and a “jolly person in and out of court.”

“He was always willing to help his fellow lawyers,” she said.

Bathan believes that Archival's death is work-related.

Cebu Lawyer Noel Archival ambushed
CEBU. Lawyer Noel Archival, 52, died on the spot, along with one aide, Edu Mendoza, police said. Driver Alejandro Jaime didn’t make it alive to a public hospital in Cebu City, while another aide, Paolo Cortes, survived. (Alex Badayos)


Cases

Archival defended the accused in the sensational case of college student Frederick Cahayang, who died during a fraternity initiation rite in a beach resort in Compostela in 1991.

The accused were acquitted by then Mandaue City Regional Trial Court Judge Ulric Cañete on September 1992.

IBP Cebu City and province chapters are set to come up with a resolution on the incident.

She urged the public not to consider lawyers as their enemies as they are only representing their clients and doing their job.

Guns

Lawyer Earl Bonachita said lawyers should be allowed to carry guns. “I believe that the lives of lawyers these days are in grave danger,” he added.

He said Archival was “one of the most visible lawyers in the courtrooms since he was handling many cases.”

Bathan said she doesn't own a gun and Archival was not known to carry gun.

But even if he had one, she said, it would have been impossible for him to defend himself in time.

Precaution

As a precaution, Bathan said, lawyers should evaluate cases before accepting them.

Some of the lawyers who succumbed to assassins’ bullets were renowned journalist Antonio Abad Tormis, human rights advocate Alfonso Surigao, Corazon Seno, Arbet Sta. Ana-Yongco, Richard Sison and Jubian Achas.

On July 3, 1961, Tormis was shot to death on Borromeo St., Cebu City. He was known as a staunch critic of corrupt government officials.

Shortly before his death, he exposed the anomalies at the Cebu City Treasurer's Office, according to the third volume of the Cebu Journalism and Journalists (CJJ) magazine.

Free

Tormis's gunman and mastermind, the city treasurer, were arrested, tried and convicted.

As a lawyer, Tormis was known to offer “free legal services to the poor and defended them like they were paying clients.”

Surigao, on the other hand, was killed by an unidentified gunman at his home in Cebu City in June 1988. He was 44.

Surigao was then the regional chairman of Amnesty International and a member of several other rights groups. He received several death threats during his career.

Before he was attacked, he defended 24 refugees who were arrested in Manila and
accused of being communist rebels.

Prosecution

In Seno's case, the lawyer was 60 when she was found dead inside her room in her home at the corner of Duterte and Fortich Sts. in Banawa, Cebu City in March 2004.

Seven months later, Yongco, 37, was killed inside her law office, located inside her house at corner of Alcohol and Sikatuna Sts., Cebu City.

She was a private prosecutor in the parricide case against cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr., who was convicted by a court of killing his wife Alona in 2012.

Suspects Michel Favila Sr., Master Sgt. Heracleo Rallestan, Nestor Carrol were charged in court for Yongco’s murder.

Acquittal

In 2007, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Bienvenido Saniel Jr. acquitted Rallestan and Nestor Carrol by granting the demurrer to evidence.

Two years later, Favila died from complications arising from diabetes.

In May 2008, Sison was ambushed near the Commission on Audit 7 office at the corner of Sotto St. and M.J. Cuenco Ave., in Barangay Tinago, Cebu City.

He was the lawyer of former Lapu-Lapu City mayor Arturo Radaza.

Last year, Achas and his client, Dr. Rene Rafols, were killed by retired Canadian journalist John Pope inside the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 6 in the Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice in Cebu City.

Pope also shot Assistant Cebu City Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño, who survived the attack.

The foreigner shot and killed himself when he was cornered by two police officers.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 19, 2014.

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