MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) and Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) have denounced the spate of killings of lawyers, with Ako Bicol party-list’s Rep. Rodel Batocabe as the latest victim.
Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin called for an independent investigation on the killings. He urged authorities to stop the “senseless acts of violence” and bring the “perpetrators to justice.”
“The Chief Justice will seek the concurrence of the Court in conducting an independent investigation and convening a dialogue between the members of the bar and law enforcers,” said SC spokesperson Midas Marquez.
IBP president Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, in a separate statement, said immediate action must be taken to protect lawyers as they perform their function to protect their clients’ rights and uphold the rule of law.
“The IBP is urging the SC to make appropriate steps to ensure a thorough, prompt, impartial, and independent investigation into all the killings of lawyers from 30 June 2016,” Fajardo said.
Data from the National Union of People’s Lawyers showed a total of 24 lawyers killed since September 2016, with 15 cases not yet solved as of this writing.
Just recently, lawyer Erfe del Castillo, a member of IBP Negros Occidental, survived an ambush in Talisay City while Benjamin Ramos was shot dead by two unidentified assailants in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental./PN