A human rights group has renewed its call to end the killings and continued attacks against lawyers in the country.
“We join lawyers and fellow human rights defenders in calling to stop the attacks against lawyers in the country. Perpetrators of the killings, from the one who pulled the trigger to the masterminds, should be made accountable and be brought to justice,” Karapatan said in a statement.
It also said: “The rampant killings must end, together with a regime that has encouraged and enabled the culture of impunity in our country.” it stressed.
Karapatan’s statement was issued in reaction to the Aug. 26 killing of lawyer Rex Jose Mario Fernandez in Cebu City. Fernandez was Karapatan’s former legal counsel.
Karapatan said that Fernandez “handled cases of rights violations, and represented victims and their families in court for years and defended political prisoners charged with trumped-up cases.”
“A few years after the Writ of Amparo — a legal remedy to seek protection amidst threats to life, liberty and security — was made available by the Supreme Court in 2007, Atty. Fernandez served as legal counsel in petitions for Amparo on a number of cases of abductions and enforced disappearances,” it said.
“Among these were the petition for the Writs of Amparo for Romulo Robinos, Ryan Supan, and disappeared UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan,” it cited.
It also said that Fernandez “also lawyered for peasant activist Noriel Rodriguez and Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas, both abducted, detained and tortured in Cagayan and Tarlac, consecutively, both in the y0ear 2009.”
“In 2010, he went back to Cebu to continue his law practice there, after his stint with Karapatan,” it recalled.
At the same time, Karapatan said that Fernandez “provided legal services to the eight protesters in Cebu who were arrested while protesting the Anti-Terror Law in June 2020, among other cases.”
Reports stated that Fernandez was onboard his car on R. Duterte Street when he was shot by a still unidentified gunman who later fled aboard a motorcycle. His driver was injured and was taken to a hospital. The same reports stated that a woman at the backseat of the car was unhurt.
According to research by the International Association of People’s Lawyers there have been 67 lawyers killed under Duterte, at the rate of 1.1 per month. this is he highest rate of any Presidential regime going back to World War II. From Marcos to Pinoy there were 158 killed. Thus the problem is not unique to the Duterte regime. See: