Tag Archives: Integrated Bar of the Philippines

Integrated Bar of the Philippines count of lawyers killed under Duterte inaccurate


Your editorial “Impunity gone berserk” (9/22/2021) contains much with which all would agree—the killing of lawyers with impunity is a threat to the rule of law and therefore to a democratic Philippines. However, it seems that the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has also gone berserk.

The number of lawyers killed under President Duterte, now 69, is lamentable, but it is nowhere near the 500-percent increase that the IBP proclaims and which, willy nillly, the media continues to trumpet unquestioningly. Unfortunately, the IBP continues to use the inaccurate numbers first produced by the Free Legal Assistance Group.

Here are the numbers recorded by the Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers of the International Association of People’s Lawyers: According to numerous monitoring groups, there were 18 lawyers killed from the Marcos to Estrada presidencies, 83 under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and 47 under President Benigno Aquino III. Thus, pre-Duterte there were at least 148 killings.

Your editorial cites the IBP claim that ”the number of lawyers killed since President Duterte came into power in 2016 has skyrocketed by 500 percent.” That is obviously a claim that cannot be justified. What is true is that at 1.1 lawyer killed per month, the rate under Mr. Duterte far exceeds the rates under his two predecessors: Arroyo at 0.74 and Aquino at 0.65.

The IBP would be well advised to seek ways in which the lawyers can protect themselves. Relying on the government, especially when state forces are involved in lawyer killings, is rather like waiting for snow in Manila. They might follow the example being set now in Nigeria where the national Bar has called a temporary boycott of the courts, in similar manner as in France, India, and Pakistan. Governments must be persuaded to act, and not only expected to do so.

Gill H. Boehringer

co-chair, Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers





The Philippines: FORSEA Dialogue on Attacks on Lawyers in the Philippines


With Prof. Gill Boehringer, Co-Chair of the Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, IAPL






NUPL lawyer Juan Macababbad. Image from Karapatan
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The Philippines: Lawyer in South Cotabato shot dead outside house



Lawyer Juan Macababad was a public interest lawyer. Two unidentified gunmen shot him in the head seven times.

Public interest lawyer Juan Macababad was shot dead outside his home in Surallah town, South Cotabato, on Wednesday, September 15, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) confirmed to Rappler.

“Atty. Macababad was gunned down at around 5:30 in the afternoon earlier just outside of his house by two unidentified individuals. According to initial reports, he sustained seven gunshot wounds to the head,” IBP South Cotabato and General Santos chapter president Remigio Rojas told Rappler in a phone interview Wednesday night.

Macababad was declared dead on arrival, said Rojas.

Macababad is a member of the red-tagged National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), and the chairman of the Socsksargen chapter of the  Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM).

“He’s active in peoples’ lawyering, he handled a wide array of cases from civil to criminal. Wala naman akong nabalitaan na controversial at high profile cases ang nahawakan. (I haven’t heard of any controversial or high profile case that he handled),” said Rojas.

“He was a silent, unassuming & amiable guy who had a ready smile behind his rather fatherly bespectacled profile. We are losing the good guys out there while the bad guys are frolicking and plundering all over,” said NUPL president Edre Olalia.





The Philippines: Supreme Court vows to address murder of lawyers


Gunshots from a treacherous assassin felled long-time human rights lawyer Rex Jesus Mario A. Fernandez and seriously wounded his driver in Cebu City on 26 August 2021.

The masked gunman stealthily approached and shot Fernandez with a .45 caliber pistol as Fernandez’s vehicle slowed down at a busy junction along Salvador Street, Sitio Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe, at around 4:10 pm. After the shooting, the killer fled on board a motorcycle driven by a co-conspirator.

Fernandez, 64, died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds.

His ambush slay, which was caught on video, came in the heels of a growing number of killings of lawyers and human rights defenders.

Per the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ count, Fernandez’s murder is the 64th recorded killing of lawyers that happened under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Supreme Court

The unabated killing of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers has prompted the Supreme Court to act.

In a statement dated 27 August 2021, the highest court condoled with Fernandez’s family and friends.

Expressing concern over Fernandez’s ambush-slay, the court remarked: “The killing of any lawyer is of serious concern to all of us.”

“Violence,” stressed Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, “solves nothing.”

“It is anathema to the rule of law.”

The court, Leonen said, continues “to sift through and analyze the voluminous records and reports submitted to us upon our call to discern whether there are patterns in the killing of lawyers and threats to judges so that we can evaluate a strategic response”.

The court “will welcome new reports to be submitted by the police and by other organizations” involving Fernandez’s death, Leonen added, as he urged “law enforcement authorities, and human rights and other groups” to submit their own “findings by the end of September at the latest.”

The highest judicial body’s Committee on Human Rights that he chairs, Leonen vowed, “will be submitting our report and recommendations for the action of the Court En Banc.






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The Philippines: Cebu lawyer killed


A veteran lawyer, who recently held a “hunger strike” after the management of the condominium he was living in cut his water supply, was shot dead by a still unknown assailant along R. Duterte Street in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City on Thursday, August 26.

Lawyer Rex Jose Mario Fernandez, 62, was on board his car when he was shot by the gunman who waited for him in a corner at around 4:10 p.m., according to Police Major Jonathan Dela Cerna, chief of the Guadalupe Police Station.

Fernandez’s driver, who police investigators have not yet identified, sustained gunshot wounds to his body and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

A woman in the back seat of the car survived although investigators have yet to determine her identity.

A closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the area showed that the lone gunman, who wore a red jacket, immediately boarded a getaway motorcycle driven by another person.

At least six empty shells of a .45 caliber pistol were recovered at the crime scene.













That makes 67 lawyers killed under Duterte. according to the International Association of People’s Lawyers who have been monitoring killing of lawyers around the globe for years. The rate at 1.08 per month is higher than the rates under his predecessors.

The Philippines: Australian law professor reacts to killings of lawyers



Last week, in response to my July 30 column on the killing of lawyers,  Gill H. Boehringer, Professor and former Dean (ret.) of Macquarie University Law School in Sydney, Australia sent an email that clarifies some of the points raised:

 “Thank you for your column today in the Manila Standard. It is important that the desperate situation of the lawyers in the Philippines is brought to the attention of the public and, of course, that something be done about this dreadful phenomenon, and others, that face the Filipino people.

“Unfortunately, the situation is worse than you suggest through no fault of your own. The material released by the IBP—and that by FLAG, Rappler and the NUPL—all understates the problem of lawyer killings. Why they do this is not known to me.“

“I am the Co-Chair of the Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers of the International Association of People’s Lawyers. We have been independently monitoring the attacks on lawyers in the Philippines for more than a decade.

“Our research, based on sources, including the PNP, IBP, Filipino monitoring groups such as several mentioned above, media, academic, foreign monitoring groups, reports from official monitoring by the UN and independent Fact Finding Missions, reveals the following:“

“Lawyers killed under Arroyo: 83, with 4 survivors; under Aquino: 47 with 1 survivor; Duterte 66 with 17 survivors.

“Assuming the IBP and the others are correct (although I expect they are on the low side) there were 28 killed from Marcos to Estrada. That means that prior to Duterte there were 158 lawyers killed prior to Duterte’s 66.

“Why the claim is being made that there has been a 500% increase only those who make such a claim can answer. But to indulge in such historical revisionism is surely not the way to understand the nature of the problem nor to come up with solutions to, or even mitigation of, the problem.








The Philippines: Thorough probe ordered on sniper attack on female lawyer, husband in Davao City


Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has ordered a thorough investigation on the assassination of a female lawyer and her husband who were shot by a sniper outside their house in Davao City.

Eleazar said the use of sniper in the killing of Hilda Mahinay-Sapie and her husband Muhaimen Mohammad Sapie on July 14 was an indication that it was well-planned.

It was the female lawyer who was first shot after she was asked to check on her vehicle. Her husband was also shot dead when he went out to check on her wife who was then slumped in front of their house.

“It was well-planned that it why we are focusing on all the possible motive of the attack and the people who planned this incident,” said Eleazar.

Authorities said the couple just finished their radio program when the crime happened.

Eleazar expressed confidence that this case would be resolved in no time.

“In the meantime, let us wait for the result of the investigation. I am confident that this will be resolved,” said Eleazar.

The Davao City police has said they are looking at all possible angles for the crime, including the cases on land disputes which were handled by the victims.

Authorities already obtained a CCTV footage which could be of help in the investigation.









The Pilippines: Lawyer and husband shot dead in Davao City


A Davao City-based lawyer and her husband were shot by an unidentified suspect outside their home at Solariega Subdivision, Barangay Talomo, this city on Wednesday afternoon.

Capt. Rose Aguilar, spokesperson for Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said that the victims were identified as Atty. Hilda Mahinay and her husband, Muhaimen Mohammad Sapie, hosts of an online-based radio program “Justice Redeemer.”

According to its social media account, Justice Redeemer is an online free legal advice program, tackling “general legal issues” and an opinion-oriented political program, which is also aired over 94.7 Power Radio Davao (DXLL).

The two were gunned down at 5:10 p.m. when they came out of their residence shortly after their radio program, Aguilar said.

Responding authorities rushed the victims to Southern Philippines Medical Center but were declared dead on arrival.

Authorities are still investigating the incident.






https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/14/21/abogado-asawa-patay-matapos-pagbabarilin-sa-davao-city (TAGALOG)

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The Philippines: IBP, NBI ink cooperation agreement to protect lawyers vs threats


IBP, NBI ink cooperation agreement to protect lawyers vs threats

The National Bureau of Investigation and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines inked a deal last week to extend assistance to, and protect, members of the Judiciary who experience threats and harassment.

The NBI, in a statement, said its OIC-Director Eric Distor and IBP president Domingo Egon Cayosa signed a Memorandum of Agreement to strengthen coordination and communication between the agency and the IBP’s chapter organizations.

The IBP is the national organization for Philippine lawyers.

The bureau said both parties agreed to maintain direct lines between their leaderships for faster coordination and to help prevent attacks on lawyers. The agreement also covers data sharing between the NBI and IBP.

This comes nearly three months since the IBP and the Philippine National Police signed a separate MOA to address attacks on members of the legal profession. Under the agreement, the PNP will help lawyers enhance their skills and knowledge in protecting themselves through proper use of firearms.

In its accord with the NBI, the bureau “will provide timely assistance to lawyers, prosecutors and magistrates in distress and extend appropriate security and protection in cases of threats or hazards in the performance of their duties and functions as may be allowed by law and regulations.”

The NBI will also expedite and prioritize probes into incidents or cases of violence against members of the legal profession.









The Philippines: Ecija court acquits rights lawyer, wife in unjust vexation case filed by local police chief


A Nueva Vizcaya court has acquitted a human rights lawyer and his wife who were both accused of uttering unsavory words towards a local police chief while retrieving the personal effects of an assassinated National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant.

Both Atty. Edu Balgos, of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer-Nueva Vizcaya, and wife Rina were separately charged with unjust vexation.

In the case of Rina, based on the complaint filed by Aritao police station chief Police Chief Inspector Geovanni Cejes, she allegedly uttered “bakit niyo pinapakialaman ang mga gamit ng biktima [Why are you tampering with the things of the victim]” and “alam niyo na, baka plantingan pa nino yan [Maybe you will plant evidence]” while inside the police station. She also allegedly badgered Cejes with a congressional summon.

On the part of her husband, Cejes alleged that Atty. Balgos yelled at him over the phone and accused him of human rights violations and also threatened him with a congressional summon.

In acquitting the two, the court said the prosecution left out crucial details such as the approximate time, place, and other circumstances where the supposed incident happened that caused distress to the police officer.

The court also pointed out that the testimony of the witness for the prosecution is consistent with the testimony of Rina.

The police officer said Rina was at the police station to witness the investigation of the case of the slain NDFP consultant when she uttered the unsavory words. But the witness said Rina’s purpose of going to the police station was to get the belongings of the NDFP consultant. Rina said when she went to the police station, she was asked to wait outside. The prosecution witness said she saw Rina sitting outside. The witness also said she did not hear Rina accuse the police of planting evidence on the clothes of the deceased NDFP consultant.