Manila prosecution office calls for justice for slain chief inquest prosecutor

Employees of the Office of the City Prosecutor in Manila on Friday (July 10) gathered to call for justice for Manila Chief Inquest Prosecutor Jovencio Senados, who was killed by unidentified gunmen.

JUSTICE FOR SENADOS – With lighted candles on hand, employees of the Office of the City Prosecutor in Manila wear their sentiments and carry banners seeking justice for slain Manila Chief Inquest Prosecutor Jovencio Senados Friday. Senados was killed in the corner of Anakbayan and Quirino Avenue, Paco, Manila Tuesday (July 7) by still unidentified SUV-riding gunmen. (ALI VICOY/MANILA BULLETIN)

The employees donned black shirts, lit candles, and carried banners bearing their demand for justice. 

Prosecutors League of Manila President Bernardino Almeda called on the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and President Duterte to help prevent the "merciless killing" of prosecutors.

"The killing of Chief Senados is not only an assault a hard-working, brilliant and dedicated public servant who devoted decades of his life to public service, but also an assault the rule of law," he said in a statement. 

"This attack against a prosecutor, as all previous senseless killings of prosecutors, judges, and lawyers who are the pillars of our justice system, is an attack against the entire legal profession," he added. 

Senados was sitting beside his nephew in his car when he was gunned down by unidentified men onboard a sports utility vehicle at Anakbayan Street corner Quirino Avenue in Paco, Manila Tuesday morning (July 7).

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed two vehicles slowing down to block his car's path before he was killed. 

Senados was the 50th victim on a list of lawyers, prosecutors, and judges killed under the Duterte administration, the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) said.

Capt. Henry Navarro, Manila Police District (MPD) Homicide section chief, said on Friday they are eyeing the possibility that three or four vehicles were used in the ambush, after they saw a gray sedan travelling at an "unusual" pace while they were backtracking Sedanos' car using CCTV footage. 

"Medyo unusual 'yung pacing nung takbo... Maluwag 'yung flow ng traffic pero sabay ang pacing  (The sedan's pacing was unusual... Traffic was light, but they matched the pacing of the other cars)," he told reporters in a phone call.

But Navarro said they found it difficult to do the backtracking, especially around Makati, since there are fewer CCTV cameras and some private establishments that do have cameras are being "uncooperative." 

The MPD Homicide chief said they are looking at all possible angles to determine the motive behind the killing, but he is "90 percent" convinced that it had something to do with Senados' work.

As chief inquest prosecutor, Senados approved the release order pending further investigation of Pride 20, the 20 activists who were arrested after staging a Pride protest in Mendiola, Manila on June 26.

He also approved the release of those arrested for alleged quarantine violations at the onset of the enhanced community quarantine, saying that they should have been released earlier since they only committed minor offenses. 

Navarro also said they have yet to identify a person of interest, because Senados' family says he did not have any enemies.