Tag Archives: The Philippines

The Philippines: IBP chapter condemns killing of Palawan lawyer handling high profile cases

August 18, 2017

A chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday condemned the killing of a Palawan lawyer handling high profile cases in the province.

Lawyer Hermie Aban was shot dead on Tuesday by a motorcycle-riding gunman in Barangay Bancao-Bancao.

“In a spate of murders of lawyers and judges, we are outraged at the impunity of the offenders,” the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Western Visayas said in a statement.

The organization called on authorities to arrest the perpetrators “so that cases may be filed and justice will prevail.”

“In an environment of senseless violence, the IBP stands firm in its commitment to the rule of law. Members of the IBP will continue to help the courts, clients and the public in accordance with our sacred oath,” the IBP chapter said.

Aban had handled drug cases and used to be the one of the lawyers of former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, who is facing a murder case for the killing of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega in 2011.






The Philippines: Duterte expands ‘drug war’ to a war on accountability

August 18, 2017

On Wednesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte paused his routine incitement and instigation of the deaths of suspected drug users and drug dealers to identify a new public enemy: human-rights organizations demanding an end to his murderous “war on drugs”.

Duterte called for police to shoot human-rights activists “who are part of [drug activity]. If they [members of human-rights organizations] are obstructing justice, you shoot them.”




http://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/aux-philippines-la-guerre-contre-la-drogue-est-un-show.afp.com.20170818.doc.rn7ls.xml (FRANCAIS)

The Philippines: International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers Preliminary Report on Lawyers Killed Under Duterte’s “Law and Order” Presidency

August 17, 2017

Gill Boehringer, Stuart Russell and Kristian Boehringer

On August 15, 2017 yet another lawyer was killed in the Philippines. This makes 10 since Rodrigo Duterte began his term of office as President on July 1, 2016. The International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers has been monitoring killings, and other attacks, on lawyers in the Philippines as well as countries around the globe. We presently list 115 countries where there have been credible reports of attacks on lawyers in recent years. In the Philippines the number of lawyers killed since January 1999 is about 130.

President Duterte came to the Presidency with a substantial vote (about 40%) in a large field of candidates. He was a surprise winner as he had no experience as a national political figure and, in the manner of the winner of the recent USA Presidential election, Donald Trump, campaigned on a populist program that included a strong focus on law and order. Duterte promised to reduce crime and corruption, and to eliminate the drug problem in the country in his first six months. That goal eluded him so he asked for another six months to complete the job. That extension expired with the war on drugs raging. Recently he has admitted he cannot finish the job in his six-year term, but assured the people that it would “ruthlessly” continue to the end of his tenure.

Despite his failure on the drugs front, Duterte claims, on the basis of statistics from the Philippine National Police indicating that the crime rate is trending down, that his promise to make the people feel safe on the streets again has been fulfilled. Whether the police statistics are accurate and comprehensive, and how to interpret them is beyond the scope of this preliminary report. To answer the questions that arise from those statistics would, at the least, require an investigation into citizen willingness to report crime (and other issues about crime statistics well known to criminologists) given the fear of reprisals from corrupt police and “vigilantes” in the context of the “drug war”. According to Dean Chel Diokno of Manila’s La Salle University Law School, that war has taken the lives of an estimated 10-12 thousand victims, most of whom were executed because they were suspected of being a drug user or pusher.

draft iapl report re duterte lawyer killings aug 17 final










http://www.courrierinternational.com/article/philippines-des-raids-meurtriers-de-la-police-salues-par-le-president?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1502978023 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.org/es/latest/news/2017/08/philippines-32-killed-in-a-day-as-dutertes-war-on-drugs-hits-new-levels-of-barbarity/ (ESPANOL)

The Philippines: Lawyer of Reyes brothers dies after gun attack in Palawan

August 15, 2017

Lawyer of Reyes brothers dies after gun attack in Palawan

A lawyer based in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan died after he was attacked by a motorcycle-riding gunman on Tuesday, August 15.

The victim, Hermie S. Aban, used to be the lawyer of former Palawan governor Mario Joel Reyes and former Coron mayor Mario Reyes, principal suspects in the January 24, 2011 murder of broadcaster-environmental activist Gerry Ortega.

Aban was on a motorcycle and went out to buy food when he was gunned down by the still unidentified perpetrator at 8:30 a.m. on Abueg Road, Barangay Bancao-Bancao, dzBB radio said, quoting a report from Senior Police Officer 2 Eustaquio Ferrer of the city’s Mendoza Police Station.

The assailant chased Aban and shot him four times until the lawyer fell unconscious on a grassy portion of the road.






The Philippines: The lawyers taking on Duterte over his ‘war on drugs’

April 24, 2017

It was the most impressive delivery of justice Joel Butuyan had seen in his more than two decades of being a lawyer.

On January 26, human rights lawyers Gil Aquino and Cristina Antonio filed a petition before the Supreme Court of the Philippines seeking protection for Efren Morillo, the lone survivor of a police ambush that killed four alleged drug users in the name of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs”.

Only five days later, the petition was granted. It provided sweeping protections for Morillo and severely limited police activity near his home and workplace.

“It was a breath of fresh air considering the current atmosphere,” said Butuyan, a veteran human rights lawyer who supervised the filing of the petition along with his colleague, Romel Bagares. “People have this feeling of hopelessness, but there’s still a branch of government you can run to and seek protection.”

It was the first legal action on behalf of a victim of the government’s controversial anti-drugs campaign. Yet after more than 8,000 deaths, few cases have followed.

Rights groups said that many of the killings were assassinations of drugs users with police complicity, allegations the authorities have denied.

Butuyan is the president of the Centre for International Law, the human rights advocacy wing of his private firm, Roque & Butuyan. Last November, he put Aquino, 27,  and Antonio, 37, a former community organiser, in charge of what has become one of the highest-profile cases in the country. They have four years of legal experience between them.

With such responsibility comes considerable risk. A total of 86 lawyers have been killed in the Philippines since 1999, according to Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. They also frequently face threats and intimidation. Lawyers are therefore sometimes deterred from pursuing politically charged cases.


(N.B. The number of lawyers, judges, prosecutors and paralegals killed must be over 130 since 1999.)



The Philippines: ‘Sereno working to free de Lima’ – sources

August 7, 2017

Image result for Sen. Leila de Lima

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is pushing for the release from jail of detained Sen. Leila de Lima over drug-related charges, Supreme Court sources told The Manila Times.

The sources claimed Sereno had been convincing justices to clear de Lima, supposedly in exchange for help in case an impeachment complaint against the chief justice is elevated to the Senate.

The 15-man Supreme Court is divided on whether or not there is probable cause to charge de Lima for drug-related cases, and whether or not the Muntinlupa regional trial court (RTC), not the Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction over the cases, the sources said.

One of the sources said a 40-page draft ponencia or ruling by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. had been circulated among the magistrates.

Velasco recommended that de Lima’s petition to junk her cases be dismissed for lack of merit, upholding the Department of Justice’s authority to file the drug-related charges against her before the Muntinlupa City RTC.



(N.B. Sen. Leila de Lima is a former human rights lawyer)


The Philippines: Slain Butuan judge on Rody’s narco list — PNP

August 8, 2017

Slain Butuan Judge Godofredo Abul Jr. was on President Duterte’s order of battle against illegal drugs, a police official said yesterday.

Superintendent Martin Gamba, Caraga police information officer, said Abul had denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade and even issued a “letter of denial” when he learned that he was on the President’s narco list.

“He went to the Butuan City police and…cleared himself,” Gamba told The STAR.

A report of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency showed Abul also went to the PDEA-Caraga office in this city to deny the allegations.

The STAR obtained a copy of a Supreme Court ruling dated Feb. 28, 2017, which showed that Abul was suspended for six months for allegedly extorting money from six drug suspects in exchange for the dismissal of the charges filed against them.

The SC cited a complaint filed by Lito Saniel, director of the prison ministry of the diocese of Butuan, and the investigation report of Rullyn Garcia of the Office of the Court Administrator, which stated that Abul asked for P200,000 to P300,000 from five inmates.