THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) renewed its call on Wednesday for a concrete and wider effort to protect the members of the legal profession following the ambush of a Cebu Port Authority (CPA) lawyer and her son in Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City last week.
On the other hand, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has already launched its own investigation into the ambush that resulted in the injury of 43-year-old lawyer Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales and her son, Jeremy Gonzales, upon the request of their family.
NBI spokesperson Giselle Dumlao said the agency’s Cebu District Office will handle the investigation.
“On this note, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines reiterates its call for a nationwide effort to protect our lawyers, judges, and their families. Members of the legal profession must be able to do their duties freely, without fear of reprisal or violence. More often than not, lawyers are given the difficult task of striving for justice, as unfortunately, many have done so at the cost of their own lives and at the risk of their family’s safety,” IBP said.
The group also challenged the Philippine National Police and the NBI to leave no stone unturned in determining the motives and identities of the shooters.
“Moreover the IBP respectfully calls upon our law enforcement agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, to thoroughly investigate the matter, exact accountability, and all the more significantly elevate state responsibility to guarantee that lawyers can do their job without any threat to their safety and security,” the IBP stressed.
The IBP also sought the PNP or the NBI’s assistance in providing security protection to the victims until the suspects are arrested and the case is resolved.
Last year, the SC announced several measures that will prevent the rising incidents of red tagging, threats, intimidation and killings of lawyers and judges in the country.
The measures include compelling all lower courts and various law enforcement offices to furnish the Court with relevant information that would shed light on the number and context of each and every threat or killing of a lawyer or judge within the past 10 years.
The SC also decided to refer the letters that they received with specific incidents of red tagging, killing and intimidation of lawyers and judges to the relevant trial courts, that would order the parties to convert their letters to proper remedies such as writs of amparo and habeas corpus.