A REGIONAL Trial Court (RTC) judge in Butuan City was killed while his wife was wounded when unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen opened fire at their vehicle while the couple was about to leave their house, Saturday morning, August 5, 2017.

The Caraga Police Regional Office (PRO) identified the victim as 68-year-old Judge Godofredo Abul Jr. of the RTC Branch 4 who was fatally hit on his head while his 65-year-old wife, Bernadeth, was wounded in the attack.

Bernadeth was rushed to MJ Santos Hospital where she was treated for wounds on her shoulder and leg.

“Initial investigation from Police Station 4 pointed out that around 10 in the morning the judge together with his wife were about to leave their house inside their white SUV Mitsubishi Montero was attacked by a gunman riding on a motorcycle. The judge was killed on site as he was fatally hit on the head while his wife was rushed to the hospital after she was wounded in the attack,” said Police Superintendent Martin Gamba, PRO public information officer.

Gamba said a task force has been formed to identify and go after the assailants.

“Caraga Police Regional Director Chief Superintendent Rolando B. Felix, immediately ordered for the creation of a special investigation task group to assist in the investigation of police station 4 and hopefully to hasten the identification of the suspects and file the appropriate case against them,” said Gamba.

Gamba said the police is appealing to possible witnesses to come out and help in the investigation.

“We hope that whoever saw and could give additional information regarding the killing of Judge Abul, we are hoping that they would be able to help us. We will of course handle the information confidentially and we will not divulge the names of those who have given the information,” said Gamba.

A top official of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for Eastern Mindanao condemned the attack.

Posting on his social media account, Attorney Dennis Bacala, governor of the IBP for Eastern Mindanao, called the brazen daylight killing "a blow to the law profession."

“Our prayers and sympathies to the family and praying for the immediate recovery of Judge Abul's wife. The IBP Eastern Mindanao condemns in the strongest possible terms this atrocity. This kind of violent attack is not only an attack to the person of the Honorable Judge but this is an attack to our institution. We call for justice! And we hope that this case be solved as soon as possible,” Bacala said.

Judge Abul was supposed to return to work this month after he was suspended for six months beginning February 2017.

The Supreme Court had suspended Judge Abul after a supposed case of extortion was filed against him.