State prosecutors denounce killings of colleagues

PROSECUTORS in the Department of Justice (DOJ) wore black shirts on Friday, October 6, to denounce the series of killings of prosecutors in the country.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has allowed the members of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) last week to conduct the activity provided that their work will not be affected.

The fiscals through the Prosecutors' League of the Philippines (PLP) urged Aguirre and President Rodrigo Duterte to deliver justice to the family of the prosecutors killed by unknown gunmen in the last years.

Six prosecutors have died since Duterte assumed the post. The PLP, however, denounces killings from May 2013 up to present.

"We are outraged by these unfortunate and untoward events exposing government prosecutors to risks and perils of being ambushed and killed as we share the grief and sorrow of the families of these senseless incidents," the PLP said.

The latest victim was Quezon Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Reymund Luna.

Luna was shot by unknown assailants last September 29 while on his way home.

Aguirre has already ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct its own investigation into the killing.

Other prosecutors who were killed this year were: Mati City Prosecutor Rolando Acido (October 26), Quezon City prosecutor Johanne Noel Mingao (January 11), Caloocan Assistant City Prosecutor (May 22), Rizal Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Maria Ronatay (July 18) and Mandaluyong City Prosecutor Pablito Gahol (September 3).

Surigao City prosecutor Manuel Tesiorna was shot last February 6, but he survived the attack after receiving a major operation at a hospital in Cebu.

The attack against Tesiorna has prompted the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Surigao branch to vow not to touch drug cases.

IBP Surigao President Noel Pangilinan claimed that the attack against prosecutors in the country is related to the government's war on drugs.

Pangilinan earlier said Tesiorna had been warned by a police source that his name has been included in the list of alleged drug protectors after the drug case he handled had been dismissed.

The IBP Surigao chapter previously conducted a series of protest against the government's "shallow" understanding of the legal process that prompted accusations that prosecutors are drug coddlers only because the drug cases they are handling get dismissed. (SunStar Philippines)
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