THE members of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) are shocked, devastated, and enraged of the murder of their colleague, Benjamin Ramos Tuesday night, November 6.
READ: Progressive groups link state forces in lawyer’s slay
“These beastly attacks by treacherous cowards cannot go on. Not a few of our members have been attacked and killed before while literally practicing their profession and advocacies in the courts, in rallies, in picket lines, in urban poor communities, and in fact-finding missions,” NUPL said.
The group said that they were increasingly labeled and branded pejoratively by the police, military, vigilantes, some bigoted columnists, and online trolls, in open contempt of basic principles of the role of lawyers in society.
“We, the lawyers of the people will not be cowed, will not blink, will not retreat, we will not look the other way, and we will stand our ground,” the NUPL said.
Moreover, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Negros Occidental chapter strongly denounced another condemnable act against a fellow lawyer and a colleague.
“This atrocity against a civilian lawyer, practically defenseless and unsuspecting, is apparently intended to demoralize and undermine lawyers in practicing their profession and in pursuing their advocacies,” IBP-Negros Chapter President Arnel Lapore said.
Lapore stressed that as they previously stated in their statement condemning the killing of another brethren just a few months ago, any attack against a lawyer threatens the independence of lawyers and judges, hindering their pursuit towards an effective administration of justice and is a threat against civil liberties if tolerated.
“We can no longer blindly ignore these blatantly appalling acts and firmly demand that a full-scale investigation be conducted on the matter, including the unresolved killing of another lawyer a few months ago,” Lapore added.
Lapore calls for justice and to put a stop on any violence against them.
“Once and for all, we need to put a stop and bring to justice the perpetrators of such actions,” Lapore said.
He reminded his colleagues to remain steadfast, unwavering, and, united in their commitment towards justice and truth.
Last August, lawyer Rafael Atotubo, who was a defense lawyer of drug personalities, was shot to death by two unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants in front of his house in Bacolod City.
READ: Local IBP chapter asks NBI to probe slay of lawyer
The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People’s Army also condemned the killing of Ramos and urged the authorities to hasten the investigation and give justice to the victim and his family.
In a separate interview, Grace Albasin, mother of Myles Albasin of the Mabinay 6, expressed her condolences to the family of Ramos.
“Our hearts bleed for the murder of Attorney Ben Ramos. On day one of the arrest of Myles and the five others, lawyer Ben came regardless of border and distance because no one was there to assist them on legal matters yet,”Albasin said.
“As the secretary-general of NUPL in Negros Occidental, he chose to be more human and showed up to assess the Mabinay 6 case,” Albasin added.
She narrated that Ramos never missed a single court appearance together with the other NUPL lawyers for Mabinay 6. Ramos knew he was targeted, but it didn't deter his spirit to take the cases of the ordinary folks including Mabinay 6. He always braved the more than two hours traveling to attend court hearings.
“In the short time we spent together, we saw a man of compassion and dedication to the less fortunate. He lived for the people without fear. This legacy he left behind is etched in the hearts of the people he served,” Albasin added. (GYM)