The Philippines: Who protects the lawyers?


NUPL lawyer na sinaksak sa ulo, ligtas na - YouTube

The attempt on the life of lawyer Angelo Karlo Guillen in Iloilo City on March 3 was particularly brutal: He was stabbed with a screwdriver in the head and in other parts of his body, and when paramedics brought him to the hospital (as veteran correspondent Nestor Burgos reported) the blue and yellow screwdriver was still embedded in his left temple. The human rights lawyer is now in stable condition; he is the fourth member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers to survive an assassination attempt under the Duterte administration. But assassins on a motorcycle did reach a founding member of NUPL, Benjamin Ramos; he was shot dead in November 2018 in Kabankalan City.

Ramos was one of 56 lawyers killed since July 2016, when President Duterte took power. NUPL itself prepared a list; in July 2020, its list had 50 names on it, with Jovencio Senados, a senior city prosecutor in Manila, the latest victim entered into it. Rappler has updated the list to 56; Winston Intong of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, the 56th and latest victim, was killed in January 2021.

Some of the lawyers on this kill list were human rights lawyers (such as Ramos), environmental lawyers (like Mia Mascariñas Green, ambushed in Bohol in February 2017), public prosecutors (like Senados, or Madonna Joy Ednaco Tanyag, stabbed in Quezon City in June 2018, when she was five months pregnant), or counsel of accused drug traffickers (like Jonah John Ungab, killed in Cebu in February 2018).

Nine of the victims were judges, including two retired judges and one retired Court of Appeals justice; 11 were prosecutors or public attorneys, either still in government service or retired; six were lawyers in Cebu City (with a seventh killed in Cebu province).

I cannot remember another time when so many lawyers were killed in such a short span of time



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One thought on “The Philippines: Who protects the lawyers?

  1. gillboehringer 09/03/2021 at 03:50 Reply

    I see they are responding to the pressure we have put on them-trying to justify the 56 instead of our 63, and using Rappler as support. what childishness. Rappler’s list is omitting a handful of practicing attorneys-it has nothing to do with “not eligible because…”. For some reason they did not count them and even though I sent them the 6 names, dates and places they seem not to have decded to count them. Pathetic.
    Of course we cannot see the NUPL list…But it seems they even disagree with Rappler who queried counting retired lawyers!

    Did you note that in an email last weak Peter Murphy said he would have a word with th NUPL folks when I said it was too bd we could not have uniy on the numbers. He is keen on unity of the left…
    Anyway, thanks for the piece.


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