The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered all trial court judges to submit in 10 days criminal cases involving lawyers who were “either harassed, threatened, attacked or even killed.”
Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, in a circular, said the submission of the inventory is in line with the directive of Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta to address the “growing concern over the continued attacks against lawyers and judges.”
In a statement issued last Monday, March 8, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) said there has been a total of 61 lawyers, including prosecutors and magistrates, who have been killed under President Duterte’s administration.
Last January, 53-year-old lawyer Winston Intong from Malaybalay, Bukidnon was shot dead by two men onboard a motorcycle.
Angelo Karlo Guillen, a human rights lawyer and a counsel in one of the 37 petitions filed with the SC against the Anti-Terrorism Act, was assaulted by still unidentified men in Iloilo City last March 3. He survived the attack.
Last January, Marquez held a series of consultations with the Department of Justice (DOJ),Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), law enforcement agencies and lawyers groups on the issues of killings of lawyers and judges.
Thereafter, Peralta directed Marquez to submit a full report with measures to address the killings after meeting with concerned government agencies and other stakeholders.
The DOJ had also started its inventory of cases of lawyers killed and attacks.
Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the inventory would include cases under investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), under preliminary investigation by the prosecution service, and those undergoing trial in courts.