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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Lawyers groups, Malacañang call on law enforcers to arrest the perpetrators

Lawyers’ groups, Malacañang condemn attempt on Iloilo-based Atty. Guillen’s life

MANILA – Attys. Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and Edre U. Olalia from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) condemned the attempt on the life of Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen last night in Iloilo City.

The IBP condemned the “brazen and bloody assassination attempt on Atty. Guillen, a human rights, public interest and Indigenous People’s lawyer. It will be recalled the young lawyer was stabbed with 12-inch screwdrivers on his head and back by two masked criminals. The IBP said the suspects were picked up by two separate motorcycle-riding men immediately after the attack.

The IBP said the victim handles pro bono cases for the poor and the marginalized and have been vocal against abuse and oppression. He is a counsel of oner of the 37 groups that petitioned the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“Inflicting violence on those who seek justice is criminality in the highest degree. As IBP stands ready to help and cooperate with Atty. Guillen’s family, investigators and law enforcers to identify, pursue, arrest and resolutely prosecute the suspects, we highly the primary role of government to secure its citizens and its international obligation to ensure that lawyers can do their job without fear, harassment or retribution,” the IBP said in a statement shortly before midday today.

The IBP called on Filipino lawyers to courageously do their sworn duty amidst the pandemic of criminality. They acknowledged that “the danger and terror is real.”

Meanwhile, Atty. Olalia, in an online indignation rally, said while there are hundreds of lawyers in detention in a number of countries, the difference with the Philippines is the fact lawyers are getting killed.

“There have been 54 lawyers and judges killed since 2016,” Atty. Olalia said. He added a number of international lawyers’ groups have expressed solidarity with the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and the members of the legal profession in the Philippines for the series of killings over the past years.

“The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the International Bar Association (IBA), Union Internationale Advocats (UIA), Council of bar Associations of Europe (CCBE), the UK-based Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Droit Solidarite (France), Italian Democratic Lawyers, the Lawyers for Lawyers from the Netherlands and a lot more have expressed concern over the recent killings and assassination attempts on the legal profession.

Over in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said they condemn the attack on Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen.

“We condemn the attack in the same manner that we condemn any attack that seeks to violate the right to life and we consider na itong pag-atake po sa isang abogado ay mas karumal-dumal dahil inatake din nila iyong ating tinatawag na rule of law,” he said.

He has taken the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to task to investigate the incident and prosecute the persons responsible for the assassination attempt on a fellow law practitioner.

“We support, in other words, the resolution of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,” he concluded.

Atty. Guillen, according to his colleagues from the NUPL-Visayas is now in stable condition as doctors have successfully removed the screwdriver lodged in his face and neck.

NUPL’s Rey Cortes said they intend to file a “reiterative motion” before the Supreme Court regarding the attack.

“We will not take this sitting down and we will not let this continue. This is not a reason to back down on our advocacies,” he said. (Melo M. Acuña)

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