The Philippines: 61 legal practitioners killed since 2016, zero convictions – lawyers’ group


International Association of People's Lawyers | IAPL Monitoring Committee  on Attacks on Lawyers

Sixty-one lawyers, judges, and prosecutors have been killed under the Duterte administration, according to an independent tally released by the Free Legal Assistance Group on Wednesday.

The lawyers’ group said 43% or 26 of these killings are “deemed work-related,” or connected to the victims’ legal practice. The crimes happened between July 2016 and January 2021, based on news reports and monitoring of the Lawyers Rights’ Watch Canada.

“The fact that almost half of the killings were due to work-related or possibly work-related motives is an indicator of the growing danger of practicing the legal profession in the country,” FLAG said in its report. “This, along with the fact that no one has been arrested in 73% of the killings, are indications that the government has failed to fulfill its obligation to adequately safeguard lawyers who are threatened as a result of discharging their functions.”

Fifteen of the killings are considered drug-related since the victims either represented accused drug personalities, or were implicated in the illegal drug trade themselves. The rest of the 27 incidents were believed to involve personal motives, such as debts or robbery, and other unknown reasons.

FLAG also provided a breakdown of the victims – 32 were into private legal practice, 21 were incumbent public officials, eight were former or retired public officials, and four were public interest lawyers.


SC urged to intervene attacks vs counsels, petitioners of anti-terrorism law


The actual figure is 63. Anyone who wishes to see the list prepared by the International Association of People’s Lawyers can obtain it from me as I was the lead researcher. There is not only a problem of long delays in dealing with murderous attacks on lawyers through the courts, but many of the cases never get to the courts. For example, police were apparently involved in two lawyer killings, according to CCTV and witness testimony, but the prosecution dismissed the charges against them on the usual ground “insufficient evidence”.

A simple examination of cases in the courts will not reveal the way in which impunity works and therefore who is doing the killings. there is no doubt that state forces-police and military-are significantly involved. There should be an independent investigation of the system of dealing with these murderous attacks on the rule of law and therefore democracy itself.

Tagged: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: