Tag Archives: The Philippines

The Philippines: Lawyer, process server shot in Leyte demolition

25/01/23

A lawyer and a process server were shot and wounded while serving a demolition order to a farmer in Barangay Cavite West, Palo, Leyte, on Wednesday morning, Jan. 25.

The victims were identified as Alexander Lacaba, 60, a private practitioner, and Adolfo Petilla, 59, the process server of Branch 43, Regional Trial Court here.

Initial police report disclosed that Sheriff Danilo Obediencia, together with the victims, and a representative from the Commission on Human Rights were implementing a writ of demolition against the property occupied by the suspect, Conrado Boren Sr., 67.

The suspect reportedly fired at the demolition team, wounding the victims who were brought to the nearest hospital.

Boren was arrested by police escorting the demolition team. Recovered from his possession was a caliber .45 with three empty shells and a misfired cartridge.

Charges for two counts of frustrated murder and violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition) are now being prepared against the suspect.

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/regions/858598/lawyer-court-staff-hurt-in-shooting-incident-during-demolition-ops/story/

https://www.thenation.com/article/world/leila-de-lima-philippines-imprisonment/

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/01/25/23/abogado-court-employee-pinagbabaril-sa-leyte (TAGALOG)

Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Negros Occidental condemns lawyer’s killing

24/12/22

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Negros Occidental chapter strongly condemned the fatal shooting of Atty. Danny Pondevilla on December 20 at Lacson Street in Bacolod City.

We call upon the authorities, including the police, to exert every legal means to identify the suspect and to bring the perpetrator to justice. IBP Negros Occidental chapter, headed by Atty. Josephine Natalaray, said.

An assault to any member of the legal profession is an assault to the entire community, Natalaray said, in statement issued by IBP Negros Occidental.

Pondevilla, the 47-year-old general manager of Northern Negros Electric Cooperative, was found dead in the driver’s seat of his Honda CRV, with a gunshot wound at the back of his head, according to the police.

The two individuals tagged by the police as “persons of interests” in their investigations, were subjected to paraffin tests. However, the results released on December 22 yielded negative results, PLt. Jonito Pastrana, Police Station 2 officer in charge, said.

Police probers are looking into personal or job related grudges, as among the possible motives behind the death of Pondevilla.

We will continue to be vigilant. We will continue to pursue our goal to let the rule of law prevail, the IBP Negros Occidental further said in a statement.

Bacolod City Police Office director PCol. Thomas Joseph Martir said that they are also looking into CCTV footage from commercial establishments in the area, which could have recorded the commission of the crime.

The creation of a Special Investigation Task Group has been recommended to fast track the investigation into the shooting incident.*

https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/12/25/news/regions/ibp-condemns-pondevillas-killing/1871652

https://www.rappler.com/nation/visayas/gunman-kills-negros-electric-cooperative-manager-bacolod/

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1949338/bacolod/local-news/bacolod-police-form-special-investigation-task-group-on-pondevillas-slay

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1949254/bacolod/local-news/familiaran-urges-authorities-to-solve-killing-of-pondevilla

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1949183/bacolod/local-news/cops-eye-two-angles-behind-slay-of-electric-coop-manager

https://news.abs-cbn.com/spotlight/11/28/22/un-special-rapporteur-singhateh-visits-ph

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/11/17/philippines-undercounts-recent-drug-war-deaths

#StopKillingLawyers

The Philippines: Complaint on killings of lawyers, prosecutors, judges filed with UN to hold PH ‘accountable’

10/11/22

A complaint to hold the Philippine government accountable for the attacks and killings of lawyers, prosecutors and judges has been filed before the United Nations (UN).

The complaint was filed by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) before the office of UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges Margaret Satterthwaite in Geneva, Switzerland.

NUPL is a member of the of the Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Watch.

Incidentally, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla will leave for Geneva on Friday, Nov. 11, to lead the Philippine delegation for the 4th Cycle of the UPR of the Philippines, a preview mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The UPR is “a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States.”

In its complaint, the NUPL cited that it has “recorded 86 killings of lawyers, judges and prosecutors among a total of 262 work-related attacks in the past 15 years.”

“Five of the victims of killings were NUPL members whose clients include indigenous peoples, peasants, farmers, workers, environment advocates, political prisoners and human rights defenders,” it said.

[…]

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2022/11/04/2221337/aguirre-denies-forcing-ragos-testify-vs-de-lima

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2022/10/29/2220009/ragos-says-he-was-forced-testify-vs-de-lima

The Philippines: Coming soon: Judiciary marshals to probe into killings of judges

26/10/22

The Supreme Court (SC) is forming the Office of the Judiciary Marshals (OJM), to be activated in the first quarter of 2023, to investigate the unsolved killings of judges over more than 20 years.  

In April 2022, Republic Act No. 11691 – the Judiciary Marshals Act – became law, meant to address attacks on and other crimes against judiciary members, and court personnel and properties. A brainchild of former chief magistrate Diosdado Peralta, it borrows the concept of the marshal system in the United States. 

“Once we are able to create…and once we already have investigators, we will have these killings looked into,” SC Associate Justice Jose Midas Marquez said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay on Wednesday, October 26. 

“Right now, I think we have around 33 or 34 judges killed while in service,” he added. “We will request the judiciary marshals to review all the cases of these judges because we cannot just let this go unresolved.”

Of these killings, only 1 in 10 has been resolved, according to Marquez. In some of the cases, the masterminds have yet to be charged or are still at large. 

Marquez said the SC is looking for a lawyer, retired ranking police and military officer, or former National Bureau of Investigation investigator to become chief marshal. 

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/10/05/philippines-un-rights-body-fails-act

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/10/05/2214463/lack-ph-human-rights-resolution-reflects-poorly-un-states-hrw-says

https://thediplomat.com/2022/10/the-duterte-years-were-especially-deadly-for-philippine-lawyers/

The Philippines: Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee

03/10/22

In its upcoming 136th session, the Human Rights Committee will review the fifth state report submitted by the Philippines and will adopt concluding observations that will assist the Philippines in the implementation of the ICCPR. Lawyers for Lawyers welcomed the opportunity to file a submission to inform the Human Rights Committee about the situation of lawyers in the Philippines.

In this submission, Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) reveals that the Philippines has failed to comply with its international human rights commitments to guarantee effective access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and subsequently, has failed to comply with article 14 of the ICCPR. The submission contains case examples from lawyers who have been persecuted, harassed and murdered due to their profession as a lawyer.

The submission addresses three key areas of concern: The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the additional practice of red-tagging and the extrajudicial killings of lawyers. The Anti-Terrorism Act is misused by the Government to unlawfully label lawyers and human rights defenders as terrorists. The practice of red-tagging is a continuous and serious threat to the civil society since individuals or organizations are being publicly labelled as ‘communists’, ‘leftists’ and thus ‘enemies of the state’. The practice of red-tagging has proven to be a grave threat to civil society and freedom of expression. Furthermore, extrajudicial killings of lawyers due to their profession and the violence against them continues to increase. These cases are often not investigated, which creates a culture of impunity.

Given the vital role of lawyers in the protection of the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights, L4L recommends the Committee to address the position of lawyers when reviewing the State Party’s implementation of the ICCPR. More specifically, L4L demands the Committee to include the following recommendations in its review to the Philippines:

[…]

The Philippines: 485 lawyers join SC plea for protection vs Badoy

30/09/22

Some 485 lawyers called on the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday to also take action on the social media attacks against their colleagues by former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) Spokesperson Lorraine Marie T. Badoy.

The 485 lawyers who signed the letter lauded the SC for issuing a stern warning against those who incite violence against judges and their families and informing the public that they could be cited in contempt of court.

“We look forward to the specific action that the Honorable Court will finally take on the matter to exact accountability from Ms. Badoy and others,” the 485 lawyers led by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said in a letter addressed to Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

“We also hope that the Court will address Ms. Badoy’s attacks against human rights lawyers, which were part of her attacks against Judge Malagar,” they added.

Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar became the subject of a social media post by Badoy after she dismissed the government’s bid to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist organization.

In her post, she called Magdoza-Malagar an “idiot judge” who lawyers for the CPP-NPA. She also made a hypothetical situation about her “killing” the judge, but she can beg for leniency because it was done because of her political belief. The post has been deleted and denied.

[…]

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/29/22/chief-justice-gesmundo-sc-serious-in-protecting-judges

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/846539/sc-urged-to-address-badoy-s-attacks-vs-human-rights-lawyers/story/

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/09/25/2212171/attack-rule-law-judiciary-judges-group-backs-red-tagged-colleague

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-63056898

The Philippines/USA: New York City Bar Association condemns attack on Cebu lawyer

24/09/22

The group urges the new government ‘to take all measures necessary to ensure that legal professionals are able to fulfill their professional obligations safely and without impediment’

The New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) has condemned the attempted assassination of Cebu Port Authority lawyer Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales.

“The New York City Bar Association joins the international community in condemning the attempted assassination of Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales and fears that it may be a harbinger of things to come,” the NYCBA said in a statement.

“As the CHR’s reference to ‘the continuing violence against legal professionals’ indicates, the recent attempt on the life of Quiñanola-Gonzales is by no means an isolated instance,” it added, noting the number of killings of members of the legal profession in the country during the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

Gonzales and her son, Keith Gonzales, were driving near Hernan Cortes Street in Barangay Tipolo when they were ambushed by motorcycle-riding men.

Mandaue City police have identified the gunman behind the attack as 42-year-old swimming instructor Richard Basalo Delibo.

Lieutenant Colonel Franco Rudolf Oriol, deputy city director for operations of the Mandaue City Police Office, said they filed a complaint for two counts of frustrated murder against Delibo with the City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, September 16.

[…]

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/attempted-assassination-of-philippine-lawyer-karen-quinanola-gonzales

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/844042/ibp-calls-for-protection-of-lawyer-son-after-cebu-attack/story/

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/03/22/nupl-urges-swift-probe-on-lawyers-ambush-in-cebu

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/09/12/philippines-strong-un-rights-council-action-needed

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/09/philippines-un-human-rights-report-looks-new-administration-progress

The Philippines: Cebu Port Authority lawyer, son ambushed in Mandaue

02/09/22

A lawyer at the Cebu Port Authority and her son were rushed to a hospital after they were ambushed by unidentified gunmen Thursday evening in Mandaue City.

According to the Mandaue City Police Office, Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales was driving with her 19-year-old son along Hernan Cortes Avenue in Barangay Banilad when the incident happened.

Authorities said the suspects were riding in tandem.

Investigators are establishing the motive of the ambush.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday condemned the crime committed against the lawyer on the first day of the rule of law month.

“We call for the swift delivery of justice against all those who do harm and destroy the common good,” the IBP said in a statement.

“We enjoin everyone to work together with us to protect the rights of every person and secure the safety of our community,” it also said. “When we allow, by our inaction or apathy, for violence to flourish, we dim the future of our country.”

The IBP added that its Cebu City chapter will give a reward of ₱50,000 to anyone who can give information leading to the capture of the suspects and all those who may have a hand in the crime.

https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/9/2/Cebu-Port-Authority-lawyer-ambush-Mandaue.html

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/02/22/lawyer-son-ambushed-in-mandaue

The Philippines: Justice Department charges 4 nuns, a lawyer, others for “financing” CPP-NPA

22/08/22

The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted 16 individuals including four nuns from the Rural Missionary of the Philippines (RMP) and a lawyer for allegedly providing funds to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

In a hearing before the Iligan City Regional Trial Court, the 16 individuals were charged with the violation of Section 8 of RA 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. This is a non-bailable offense, has a punishment of reclusion perpetua or 40 years imprisonment, and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1 million.

Mico Clavano, of the Office of the Justice Secretary, withheld the copy of the resolution to the media, citing privacy.

The charge was based on the investigation made by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on RMP’s bank accounts and the testimonies of two individuals who claimed to be former communist rebels. On February 11, 2020, the AMLC ordered a freeze on three of RMP’s bank accounts on the same basis.

RMP is a national, non-profit organization of priests, nuns, and lay workers that provides service to poor communities of farmers, indigenous people, fisher folks, and agricultural workers that has existed for 53 years. It has not been designated as a terrorist group and has consistently denied accusations by state security forces of being a communist front organization.

Also charged is Aldeem Yañez, a lay worker of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, who was arrested during Palm Sunday this year in Cagayan de Oro.

The DOJ’s move was slammed by several groups and individuals including the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

NUPL’s national auditor, lawyer Czarina “Dingkay” Golda Musni, was one of those indicted. Musni also serves as the Secretary General of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao.

[…]

DOJ to charge four nuns, a lawyer, others for “financing” CPP-NPA

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/841920/nupl-defends-lawyer-15-others-vs-terrorism-financing-charge/story/

https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/8/9/filipino-lawyer-angelo-guillen-human-rights-award.html

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/08/09/2201404/young-rights-lawyer-receives-us-based-roger-baldwin-medal-liberty

(TAGALOG)

https://es.postsus.com/noticias/982975.html (ESPANOL)

The Philippines: Lawyer endured years of vilification long before terror financing case

18/09/22

Lawyer Czarina Golda Musni comes from a prominent family of human rights lawyers in Cagayan de Oro, and was involved in some of the projects of missionaries for rural communities in Mindanao

The lawyer accused of providing aid to the New People’s Army (NPA) along with 15 nuns and staff of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR) has long been subjected to red-tagging, threats, and a smear campaign.

Her family’s home in Cagayan de Oro was even shot at by a still unidentified person three years ago.

The lawyer, Czarina Golda “Dingkay” Musni, comes from a prominent family of human rights lawyers in Cagayan de Oro, and was involved in some of the projects of the missionaries for rural communities in Mindanao.

Musni’s mother Beverly is a retired arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) while her father Oscar once served as a provincial board member in Misamis Oriental, and established a law firm in Cagayan de Oro.

Oscar was active in the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), and was a political detainee during the Martial Law years. 

Musni’s sister, Beverly Ann, is also a lawyer and works in a court in Bukidnon. Like the rest of the family, she had been red-tagged numerous times.

In 2019, Musni’s mother led a group in calling on the Cagayan de Oro city council to pass an ordinance against red-tagging in the city as a result of the proliferation of posters and flyers that linked lawyers, priests, nuns, journalists, and activists to the NPA. No such measure was ever passed.

[…]

https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2022/08/13/2202285/brave-deep-thinking-human-rights-lawyer

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/filipino-human-rights-lawyer-angelo-guillen-honored-baldwin-medal-liberty

https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/8/9/filipino-lawyer-angelo-guillen-human-rights-award.html

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/08/09/2201404/young-rights-lawyer-receives-us-based-roger-baldwin-medal-liberty