By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY – A delegation of foreign lawyers has arrived here to probe the deaths of lawyers under the Duterte presidency, including two who were killed in Negros Occidental province last year.
Lawyer Johannes Gaasheek from the Netherlands led the team that is looking into the death of Negros Occidental lawyers Benjamin Ramos and Rafael Atutubo.
Ramos, a 56-year-old human rights lawyer and one of the founders of National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), was gunned down in Kabankalan City last November 2018.
The 62-year-old Atutubo, who handled drug-related cases, was shot outside his house in Bacolod City last August 2018.
“Killing of lawyers in the country undermines the rule of law and even the country’s democracy. In our opinion, the government is obliged to investigate thoroughly,” Gaasheek told The Manila Bulletin.
Foreign lawyers from United States, Belgium, South Korea, and Japan also had a dialogue with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in Manila.
The delegation is expected to present its findings to international lawyer organizations and one of the agencies of the United Nations (UN).