LAWYERS in the city and province of Cebu condemned the kiling of lawyer and Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) chapters in Cebu and Cebu City, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) Cebu Chapter and officials in Cebu Province urged authorities to arrest the gunmen and conduct a “full and impartial” investigation.
In a statement, lawyer Mundlyn Misal-Martin of the IBP Cebu Chapter said that Ungab was “a very good lawyer and was known to do well in the courtroom.”
“This act of violence against us lawyers has no place in a civil society. As lawyers, we are only doing our job as mandated by the law and as our personal commitment to our clients,” she said.
The IBP Cebu City Chapter also condemned the “despicable attack” on Ungab.
“This attack is not just a personal offense against Atty. Ungab, but an affront to the administration of justice and the rule of law, which the lawyering profession passionately represents and is duty-bound to safeguard,” their statement reads.
“Creating an atmosphere of fear among the members of the legal profession will impede not only the personal cases of his or her clients, but the speed and efficiency of the administration of justice as a whole,” they said.
The group called on the police, National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to “promptly and thoroughly investigate” the killing and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We also call on our brothers and sisters in the profession to remain steadfast in their dedication to their clients’ causes and in staying true to the oath they imposed upon themselves without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” they said.
The NUPL Cebu Chapter also condemned Ungab’s killing.
“Both our collective moral sense and the international convention on human rights recognize the right to life as an inherent right of every human being that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived thereof,” they said.
Local officials in Cebu were shocked upon knowing about the attack.
“I am shocked by the violent death of Ronda Vice Mayor John Ungab. My sincerest condolence to his family. I strongly urge our law enforcers to bring those responsible to justice,” said Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III in a statement yesterday.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale was also saddened by Ungab’s death.
Ungab was formerly under the Cebu Province’s Liberal Party before he decided to defect to the administration party last year.
Magpale said that Ungab’s ambush could create a tremendous effect on Cebu’s security.
“I’m worried for Cebu’s security. Our perception is that Cebu is a very safe place but ing-ana ra diay ka sayon ang pag-ambush,” she said.
Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco, in a separate interview, said that he and his constituents were shocked by what happened.
Ungab, who was Blanco’s maternal nephew, said that while they now belong to different political parties, he will never forget how Ungab stood by him when he was still a town councilor until he became a vice mayor.
Ungab would’ve ended his last term as vice mayor in 2019. (GMD, JKV)