THE public should not tolerate the emerging norm of killings in the wake of the government’s war on drugs, said lawyer Gonzalo Malig-on, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Eastern Visayas governor.
He lamented that even lawyers were not spared in the shortcut on the country’s judicial processes.
Themed “A Cry For Justice: A challenge to the legal profession,” lawyers and several top government officials shared their thoughts on the present danger besetting lawyers under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
Mundlyn Martin, IBP Cebu chapter president, said the recent spate of killings among lawyers remains a challenge under the present administration.
Among the invited speakers to the IBP Eastern Visayas regional convention are Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, IBP National President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, and lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno, chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group.
Osmeña welcomed the participants to the convention, but he also took a swipe at the administration’s proposed shift to a federal form of government.
He said that people are confused and not ready for the said proposal.
“Although it sounds good, we want to be sure,” the mayor said.
Lawyer Glenn Capanas of the IBP Cebu City chapter said the convention is very relevant since Cebu itself is where several killings involving lawyers happened in the past years.
“It’s a challenge also since being in the legal profession, we must also uphold the rule of law. We should really be concerned about our profession and we should do what we ought to do,” he said.
Fajardo, IBP National president, said they passed a resolution creating a task force to investigate, document and provide support for the prosecution of cases involving members of the Bar.
The IBP cited a rise in the number of cases of lawyers, prosecutors and even judges being killed.
There are about 11 lawyers in Cebu who were killed while performing their legal duties since 2004.
The investigation of these cases has remained open-ended or unresolved nor has there been any of the said cases prosecuted before the courts of justice, the IBP said.
“This impression of impunity, in turn, creates a chilling effect on members of the Bar, who, in the discharge of the solemn duties as officers of the court and guardians of the rule of law, are placed under a serious, grave and imminent threat to their life and family,” they said. HBL