DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The National Union of Peoples Lawyers hit out the series of attacks against lawyers and judges in the wake of government’s “war on drugs.”
“Lawyers and judges should not be the subject of attacks for the practice of their profession and official function. If the police have evidence of criminal acts committed by members of the legal profession then it should file criminal and administrative cases against them,” NUPL Secretary General Ephraim Cortez said in a statement Thursday.
Cortez strongly condemned the killing of Regional Trial Court Judge Victor Canoy and the attack against City Prosecutor Manuel Tesiorna in Surigao City.
The group expressed alarm over the failure of the government to identify the perpetrators of these attacks and NUPL Chairman Neri Colmenares criticized the police for failure to resolve the cases.
“Judge Canoy and Prosecutor Tesiorna were shot in public and yet the police failed to identify the suspects. We are afraid that his will only embolden the perpetrators and escalate attacks against members of the legal profession,” he said.
“This is not merely an attack against the legal profession, but also the right of every one to counsel, as these attacks could instill fear among lawyers in providing legal services to those accused of a crime. We call on the Supreme Court to step in and ensure that serious investigation is undertaken to preempt escalation of these attacks and give justice to victims of these attacks,” Colmenares said.
Meanwhile, Cortez said that NUPL strongly supported the condemnation issued by the National Integrated Bar of the Philippines including the Surigao lawyers over these attacks.
“We call on lawyers to bravely continue providing legal services to their clients, especially the poor, while battling these continuing attacks against members of the legal profession,” he said. (davaotoday.com)