THE Supreme Court (SC) committee on human rights on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, asked the police and other organizations to submit their reports and findings on the killing of Cebuano lawyer Rex JMA Fernandez by the end of September 2021.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who chairs the committee, said these will be among the records and reports that the committee will analyze to determine whether there are patterns in the killing of lawyers.
Fernandez was the first lawyer in Cebu who was killed after the SC, in a rare move on March 23, 2021, issued a statement seeking relevant and vetted information on each and every threat against or killing of a lawyer or judge within the past 10 years.
The collation of such information was among the five courses of action that the court said it was taking to determine what changes need to be made to address the assault on the judiciary.
"Based on the information provided, the court will then decide on the next courses of action, including the amendment of the relevant rules, or if necessary, the creation of new ones," the SC stated.
In his statement Friday, Leonen said the committee’s findings will form the basis for a “strategic response” that will be proposed for action of the court en banc.
“The killing of any lawyer is of serious concern to all of us. Violence solves nothing. It is anathema to the rule of law,” Leonen said, quoting the court en banc.
Fernandez was gunned down in a daylight attack in Banawa, Cebu City on Aug. 26. His driver was wounded while a woman seated in the back of the car was unharmed.
Fernandez was on the front passenger seat of his car, which had slowed down as it emerged from Good Shepherd Road, when the gunman walked toward the car and fired multiple shots through the passenger side window. The gunman then briskly walked away and hopped on a motorcyce driven by an accomplice.
Fernandez was the eighth lawyer slain in Cebu since July 1, 2016, according to the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL). Nationwide, 57 lawyers, prosecutors and judges have been killed in the same period.