SC official condemns slay of lawyer, aides

SUPREME Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez yesterday voiced his sadness over the killing of lawyer Noel Archival and his two aides, who were ambushed in Barangay Corro, Dalaguete, Cebu last Feb. 18.

“As of now, the only thing we can ask for is the immediate resolution of the case. We need the help of our law enforcers,” Marquez told reporters.

Marquez, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and several high court officials were in Cebu City yesterday and inspected the Quimonda IT Center and the Palace of Justice.

Marquez said the high court will coordinate with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City chapter on possible assistance to given to the slain lawyer’s family.

The IBP Cebu chapter the chapter also passed a resolution decrying the “brutal, cold-blooded and ruthless” slaying of Archival and his staff.

It also urged the National Government to undertake “all necessary measures” to ensure the safety of both the lawyers and even citizens in general.

It also urged the police, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Department of Justice to discharge their duties and ensure that “effective steps will be taken to bring the perpetrators of this dastardly crime to justice.”

“The past killings of members of the legal profession in Cebu have remained unsolved, generating a feeling of helplessness among the general public because if lawyers could be killed in broad daylight with impunity, how much more ordinary citizens?” the resolution read.

Lawyers killed

Among the lawyers who were assassinated in Cebu City were Antonio Abad Tormis, human rights advocate Alfonso Surigao, Corazon Seno, Arbet Sta. Ana-Yongco, Richard Sison and Jubian Achas.

Attacks against lawyers “may lead to the breakdown of the judicial system where lawyers are an indispensable part.”

The lawyers’ group said the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers requires government to ensure that lawyers are able to perform all their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.

Authorities should provide protection to lawyers if they receive threats related to their job, the lawyers’ group said. 

Mayor Michael Rama is not in favor of other law enforcement agencies investigating the case.

There have been suggestions that other groups, such as the National Bureau of Investigation, should have its own investigation in addition to the one conducted by the police.

“Let’s wait for whatever the result of the initial investigation before we jump and proceed into some suggestions,” Rama told reporters.

He said that if police is doing a good job, there is no need to bring in a new group.

The police task force investigating the case is close to identifying suspects.
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