The Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) reiterates its strong condemnation of the continued killings with impunity, including casualties in the legal profession.
The recent murder of Baby Maria Concepcion Landero-Ole in Danao City, the 54th lawyer killed under the present administration, sent a terrifying clear signal that the State has not been doing its obligations to protect our people. If lawyers who are officers of the court assisting in the administration of justice are killed in broad daylight, then how could other citizens, especially those in the marginalized sectors, expect protection?
Instead of tolerating this apparent state of “Kill, Kill, Kill,” President Rodrigo R. Duterte, a lawyer himself, should immediately direct the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and all other law enforcement agencies to put a stop to these assassinations and for the speedy resolution of these heinous crimes.
As the court of last resort, we also pray for the Supreme Court to be more proactive in defending the members of the legal profession in the spirit of rule of law and due process. An assault on a single lawyer is an attack on the legal community in general.
We call on all lawyers to speak and act as one to protect not only our own ranks but also our clients, our people who have been victimized with impunity by these assassins who are now clearly taunting our weakened justice system.
While we need to exercise more caution, these inherent risks of the profession should not stop us from serving the people according to our lawyer’s oath.
Rule of Justice, NOT Rule of the Gun should prevail! Stop the killing of lawyers! End impunity, Now!
(SIGNED) ANTONIO C. AZARCON
(SIGNED) JOSE V. BEGIL, JR.
UPLM Immediate Past Chair
(SIGNED) MANUEL P. QUIBOD
UPLM Immediate Past Vice Chair and NUPL Vice President for Mindanao