MANILA – A total of 38 lawyers have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office on June 30, 2016, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said.
The 40,000-strong lawyers’ group issued the statement following the ambush of Atty. Rex Jasper Lopoz on Wednesday evening in front of a shopping mall in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
“We are almost losing count, but there have been 38 such reported killings since Atty. Rogelio Bato Jr. was killed by unidentified gunmen in Tacloban city, Leyte on Aug. 23, 2016,” the IBP said in a statement yesterday.
IBP urged authorities to solve the murder cases among lawyers “with a real sense of duty and competent dispatch.”
“This series of unsolved crimes against lawyers has germinated a dark halo of fear that has paralyzed the most important pillars of the justice system,” the IBP said. “Murder and other forms of mindless violence have no place in civilized society.”
Lawyers are professionals who must not be associated with the perceived crimes of their clients, the lawyers’ group added.
IBP earlier urged the Supreme Court to ensure a speedy, fair and independent investigation into the killings of lawyers since Duterte became president./PN