Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has tweeted the Senate to conduct an immediate investigation into the growing incidents of violent attacks against members of the Philippine Bar following the latest killing of a lawyer in Valencia, Bukidnon.
“May abogado na naman na pinatay! _When will this madness ever stop?” De Lima posted in her Twitter account managed by her staff, referring to lawyer Nicolas Gomez Jr., who was gunned down by motorcycle-riding gunmen last July 28.
Although local police authorities suspect that Gomez’s killing may be related to a land dispute, human rights group considers his murder among the growing list of extrajudicial killings involving lawyers.
Based on news reports, since Mr. Duterte assumed office in July 2016, at least 41 judges, prosecutors, and lawyers have been killed according to the list of the National Union of People’s Lawyers as of July 29.
This was the second time in seven days though that a member of the Philippine Bar was gunned down. Lawyer Anthony Trinidad, a known human rights defender in Negros, was gunned down by still-unidentified assassins while onboard his vehicle in Negros Oriental last July 23.
“Time for the Senate to inquire into the targeted and systematic attacks and continued assault against members of the Bar, which I proposed in a recently-filed Resolution,” prodded De Lima, a former justice secretary.
The lady Senator from Bicol, who is a lawyer by profession, recently filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 33 urging the Senate to conduct an immediate investigation into attacks against members of the legal profession, including lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
In filing SR No. 33, De Lima expressed alarm over the unabated spate of attacks on lawyers amid the administration’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs that has claimed thousands of Filipino lives.
“This escalating and alarming trend and spate of attacks and killings of members of the Bar makes it imperative for the government and law authorities and institutions to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice,” she said.
De Lima, also a known human rights defender, also underscored the need to provide adequate measures to address and ensure the personal and professional safety of Filipino lawyers and to prevent any further attacks on their independence and security.
In an effort to silence De Lima’s vocal stand against Mr. Duterte’s sham war against illegal drugs, the government has fabricated cases against her using coerced and perjured witnesses.
De Lima, for her part, has repeatedly professed her innocence from the trumped-up illegal drug charges, stressing that the truth will triumph in the end amid the lies being propagated by the Duterte regime against her.
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