IBP-Cebu Chapter seeks swift probe on Aug. 26 lawyer killing in Cebu City

Published August 29, 2021, 3:36 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

IBP-Cebu Chapter

The Cebu Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Cebu) has asked law enforcement agencies to bring to justice those behind the killing of lawyer Rex Jesus Mario Fernandez in Cebu City last Aug. 26.

In a statement, IBP-Cebu condemned that “an attack on our brother-lawyer for case-related motives is an attack on the justice system and the rule of law we promised to protect.”

“We, therefore, urge law enforcement authorities to investigate this case promptly; otherwise, if no definitive resolution is made, the deadly assault on lawyers will persist with impunity,” it said.

It said it will coordinate with the authorities in the investigation of the killing. “We pledge to take stronger action and assistance in the investigation,” it assured.

At the same time, IBP-Cebu appealed to establishments which have CCTV (closed circuit television) footage in the area where the crime was committed “to cooperate with the investigation.”

It expressed its “deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Atty. Fernandez.”

Fernandez died after an unidentified gunman fired at his car along R. Duterte Street in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City. His driver was injured.

The late lawyer was one of the founders of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and has also served as the legal counsel of human rights group Karapatan.

Both organizations have issued statements condemning Fernandez’s killing and attacks against lawyers.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a separate probe.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) had also announced it will conduct it own investigation.

The Supreme Court, through Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen who heads the High Court’s Committee on Human Rights, has urged law enforcers and other groups investigating Fernandez’s killing to submit the evidence they would be able to gather.

Letters, manifestations and pleadings in connection with the killing of lawyers, prosecutors and judges have been referred to Leonen’s committee by the SC for study and recommendation.