Slay try on human rights lawyer flayed  

By Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Two lawyers’ organizations have condemned the ambush of a human rights lawyer in Capiz province.

(Photo courtesy of Jose Mari Callueng / MANILA BULLETIN) (Photo courtesy of Jose Mari Callueng / MANILA BULLETIN)

The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) of Panay Island condemned in “no uncertain terms” the attempted assassination of Attorney Criselda Azarcon-Heredia in Panit-an town.

The 49-year-old Heredia was in a sports utility vehicle driven by her daughter, and was also with a client, when the vehicle was riddled with bullets by two gunmen around 11:15 a.m. Monday. At least nine bullet holes were found on the SUV.

Heredia and her companions survived attack unscathed.

The incident occurred right after Heredia attended a court hearing in Panit-an with the client, who hitched a ride with her.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) of Capiz also condemned the attack.

“The attempt on their lives is another detestable act, which has no place in a democratic society.

We call upon the authorities to investigate the incident.  This is not just an attack against a lawyer, but an attack to the life of each and every individual,” said IBP Capiz in a statement released by Atty. Remia Fuentes-Bartolome, its president.

NUPL-Panay chapter blamed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for Heredia’s attempted assassination.

“Atty. Heredia had been red-tagged in posters and had been personally threatened by a military agent who visited her office and warned her to slow down on her human rights advocacy,” NUPL-Panay said.

Heredia was a lawyer for officers of the left-wing National Democratic Front (NDF) in the October 2016 second round of peace talks between the NDF and the Philippine government in Oslo, Norway.

NUPL-Panay also decried the increasing attacks against lawyers, judges and prosecutors during the Duterte administration.

“The attempt on Atty. Heredia came a day after the media ran stories of lawyers worldwide asking the Duterte administration to protect Philippine lawyers,” NUPL-Panay added.