PATTERNS IN THE KILLING OF LAWYERS: THE CASE OF ATTORNEY REX FERNANDEZ
Prof. Gill H. Boehringer, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Macquarie University Law School, Sydney Australia;
Co-Chair, Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers
Supreme Court Associate Justice Leonen has called for submissions on the killing of Atty. Rex Fernandez in order to determine if there are patterns in the killing of Philippine lawyers into which his death fits. [See last page for links to media accounts of the circumstances of the killing.]
I will show that there are indeed such patterns. The sad case of this latest killing in Cebu City can be seen as representing many of the patterns discovered in research carried out on attacks on lawyers for the past two decades by the International Association of People’s Lawyers. The empirical research has been carried out by the Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers (MCAL), Co-chaired by myself and Professor Stuart Russell.
Numbers of violent attacks on lawyers
We have examined the circumstances in 219 violent attacks on lawyers under Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III and Rodrigo Duterte. In those attacks 197 lawyers were killed since 2001, while 22 survived the attack.
Here are the overall comparative numbers of violent attacks we have recorded, broken down by the role of the lawyers: