Tag Archives: The Philippines

The Philippines: DOJ continues probe into QC prosecutor’s murder

March 25, 2019

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday continued its preliminary investigation into the murder of Quezon City prosecutor Rogelio Velasco last May.

During the hearing, the National Bureau of Investigation presented almost an hour’s worth of CCTV footage taken at the Quezon Memorial Circle and in Quezon City’s DOJ compound hours before Velasco was fatally shot on May 11, 2018.

Three policemen are accused of conspiring to murder the prosecutor. Two of them, Patrolman (formerly PO1) Jose Mercado and Police Staff Sergeant (formerly PO3) Arthur Lucy, have claimed they were in other places at the time of the shooting.

The third respondent, Police Senior Master Sergeant (formerly SPO2) Rodante Lalimarmo, said he was in the circle but was there to meet with a prospective car buyer.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong ordered the policemen to submit manifestations in relation to the camera footage, which allegedly shows the three police officers, and directed the complainants to answer.

Velasco is one of at least 37 lawyers, prosecutors, and judges killed in the Philippines since the Duterte administration began, according to the count of the National Union of People’s Lawyers.

An international delegation of lawyers that briefly conducted an inquiry into some of the incidentssaid they found “patterns suggesting a connection between the killings and the actions of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”









https://rmn.ph/kaso-ng-pagpatay-kay-qc-deputy-prosecutor-velasco-submitted-for-resolution-na/ (TAGALOG)

The Philippines: Protect, don’t attack lawyers, foreign delegation tells Duterte

March 18, 2019


A delegation of foreign lawyers has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to protect, and refrain from “publicly attacking,” lawyers, after it found a “sharp increase” in human rights violations against legal professionals during the current administration.

The President should instead publicly condemn attacks, the nine-member delegation said after conducting a brief study of 13 violent incidents against lawyers in the last two years.

The mission learned there was “no structural protection, compensation or remedy for the victims and their families,” as well as a “lack of effective oversight of executive bodies  and law enforcement agencies, supporting a culture of impunity.”

As part of their study, the delegation, whose members come from Belgium, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, and the United States, also interviewed officers from the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation, which they said recognized the problem but seemed “frustrated” about local investigations.

At least 37 lawyers have been killed in the line of duty since the Duterte administration began, according to the count of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, one of the local groups that hosted the international mission.


























https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2019/03/18/les-philippines-se-retirent-de-la-cour-penale-internationale-qui-enquete-sur-leur-president-rodrigo-duterte_5437654_3210.html?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR1g_k-zoX-hyHytT3m1A_A0rWYAruc1E-2_2Jbmea8E9og3QvAxb-NsjRQ#Echobox=1552902892 (FRANCAIS)

19 March 2019

Knowing How it Feels:

Int’l Lawyers Looking Into Attacks on Ph Lawyers Harassed

It was so for real. And it stared at us right in our faces.

The International Delegation. of Lawyers which just concluded a Colloquium and issued a critical Initial Findings on the query into the attacks on Filipino judges, prosecutors, lawyers and paralegals was itself the subject of brazen threats, harassment, and surveillance yesterday.

At the press conference at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), a man in civilian clothes who identified himself as a military personnel approached an IBP staff and boasted that “these foreigners are now under surveillance.” Afterwards, he milled around the Delegation and was not-so-discreetly taking our pictures and snooping on our conversation. Meanwhile, a woman in sloppy civilian clothes was also close by and was looking ill at ease, reporting at the top of her voice to somebody over the phone. When asked by our hosts to identify herself, she claimed to be a media person but could not produce any form of identification at all.

Thereafter, the Delegation was closely tailed from the IBP to a mall where we took lunch
by two men in bullcaps riding in tandem on a motorcycle with no plate number. We were tailed until we reached our hotel where more men in civilian clothes and bullcaps were posted at both entrances, obviously stalking us and peering into the lobby and monitoring the ingress and egress of people and vehicles.

When one of the men visibly posted close to the entrance was confronted by the hotel security, he claimed he was waiting for his relative to check in though he was just standing outside pounding incessantly on his mobile phone for several hours already. We learned that he actually left for the night.

Also, a member of our host committee was also tailed presumably by the same group of people when she left the hotel.

Earlier today, a heavily tinted car parked at the basement of the hotel tailed the vehicle of our Delegation even while motorcycle-riding men were idly posted at the hotel’s street corner.

We were made to understand that our Delegation was probably the first foreign group to enter the country and conduct a firsthand open inquiry on the reported rights violations under the present Philippine government.

Under the contemporaneous circumstances and in the context of the usual reaction of the Duterte government towards opinions inconsistent with its official line, these vexatious acts against our Delegation appear to have the fingerprints of intimidation and reprisal by State agents.

It is indeed ironic that our lawyers’ delegation representing various legitimate and prestigious organizations from all over the world which openly met with government offices and officials – other than the police and military which gave us a runaround – will be subjected to brazen harassmen ourselves.

Even more outstandingly ironic is that we as international lawyers
made time to see things firsthand on the reported attacks on our peers and brethren out of genuine concern and who in good faith humbly put forward concrete recommendations for consideration by the authorities are ourselves the object of attack.

The respective embassies and missions of the members of our Delegation, the various international lawyers groups which organized, participated, supported and endorsed us, and the international community have been put on notice of this unacceptable harassment.

Indeed, to see and feel is to believe. And no amount of ad hominem insults and official denials of reality can change this matter of fact. But we will be back. #


Suzanne Adely
Hans Gaasbeek
c/o 09159074183 2019lawyersdelegation@gmail.com

(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook, 19/03/19)

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(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook, 18/03/19)

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(Leila de Lima Facebook, 24/03/19)

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(Leila de Lima Facebook, 24/03/19)


March 17, 2019

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(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook, 17/03/19)








https://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/les-philippines-quittent-la-cpi-qui-enquete-sur-leur-president.afp.com.20190316.doc.1eq294.xml?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&Echobox=1552863732&fbclid=IwAR0v5nlvAJhE0jVsjdVg5aA-blepd_xuh3y3Mbo4Jip8NINacsnklty3RVU (FRANCAIS)

18 March 2019

International Lawyers Delegation Findings:
Killings and reprisals restraining lawyers from fully and freely exercising their profession; Calls for stop to attacks of their peers and brethren

An international delegation of lawyers organized by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Union of International Advocates (UIA), and Day of the Endangered Lawyer Foundation who arrived in the Philippines to look firsthand into the targeting of lawyers and other legal professionals shared their initial findings today at a press conference at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

After a series of marathon interviews and conferences in Metro Manila and Iloilo with victims and their families, government and non-governmental offices and bar associations, the team of lawyers from Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands and the US made some initial findings, among others:

(a) That at least 37 members of the legal profession have been killed in the exercise of their duties and profession;
(b) As a consequence of President Duterte’s “war on drugs,” lawyers who defend those accused of drug crimes are maligned and subjected to real threats of attack;
(c) Red-tagging lawyers resulted to harassment, surveillance, loss of employment and killing; and
(d) That the practice of filing fabricated charges to pressure, harass, discredit and intimidate lawyers is prevalent.

The group also concluded that these have created a climate of fear and intimidation preventing or obstructing lawyers, judges and prosecutors from exercising their profession.

Members of the Delegation raised concerns over patterns suggesting a connection between the killings of lawyers and the actions of the police and the military.

The group humbly put forward a list of initial recommendations in their sincere desire to protect their peers and brethren, to ensure the independence of judges and lawyers, and to uphold basic due process for all, including those of critics and dissenters.

It called on their colleague the President to refrain from publicly attacking fellow lawyers and urged him to publicly condemn all attacks against lawyers and other members of the legal profession and to abide by the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

The Delegation was participated in by the Confederation of Lawyers in Asia and the Pacific (COLAP), National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of the US, Progress Lawyers Network (PLN) of Belgium, Italian Democratic Lawyers, Japanese Lawyers for International Solidarity and Action (JALISA), and MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society of Korea.

It is also supported by the
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers of UK, European Lawyers for World Human Rights and Democracy (ELDH), Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers, European Democratic Lawyers (AED), Hellenic Union of Progressive Lawyers (HUPL) of Greece, Italian National Bar, Dutch League of Human Rights and the International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers (IAPL).

The Delegation would come up with a full report forthwith and will submit their findings to international bodies, governments and international organizations.###


Suzanne Adely
Hans Gaasbeek
c/o 09159074183 2019lawyersdelegation@gmail.com

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The Philippines: Int’l group in Philippines to investigate killing of lawyers

March 16, 2019

An international delegation has arrived in Manila to investigate the killing of lawyers in the country, days after the March 13 murder of Rex Jasper Lopoz in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, brought to 38 the number of lawyers killed since President Duterte assumed office in 2016.

The delegation is composed of lawyers from six countries—Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and the United States—who are tasked with interviewing survivors, victims’ relatives, government agencies, judges and prosecutors until Monday.

Edre Olalia of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), which is hosting the delegation, said the group came to the country on their own initiative after the killing in November last year of founding NUPL member Benjamin Tarug Ramos in Negros Occidental.

“When he was killed, a lot of condemnation came in, and some of them asked, ‘Is there anything we can do? Can we come down and check what the real situation is?’” Olalia said.

Focus on 15 cases

Various lawyers’ groups are represented in the delegation, including the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Union of International Advocates and Day of Endangered Lawyers Foundation.

Olalia said the group would investigate 15 recent killings that had occurred throughout Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao by speaking with lawyers themselves who had survived near-death situations or the families of those who had been slain.






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(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 16/03/19)

The Philippines: International lawyers’ groups to probe attacks on Filipino counterparts

March 15, 2019

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Alarmed with the attacks on lawyers, judges and prosecutors in the Philippines, nine foreign lawyers from six different countries have come to the country to conduct their own investigation.

The fact-finding mission is composed of lawyers from Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and United States.

Suzanne Adely of National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of the U.S, and International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) said the delegation is hoping to collect information and answers from government institutions about the alarming rate of extrajudicial killings of lawyers and judges.

According to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), 38 lawyers have been killed under the Duterte administration. On March 14, another lawyer, Rex Jasper Lopoz, was gunned down in Tagum City.

Adely said their mission will focus on the extrajudicial killings of lawyers. “We cannot expect to be able to fight for justice if we cannot protect the peoples’ lawyers,” Adely told Bulatlat in an interview.

A trade unionist based in New York, Adely said she has been active in solidarity work with Filipinos in the U.S. and has learned about the political situation in the Philippines from her Filipino friends. “I always knew that I would come at some point,” she said.

Also joining the delegation is Johannes Karel Geesbaak, director of the Foundation for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, who joined similar missions in the country during the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“The situation has not changed since the last time,” Geesbaak said during the colloquium held at the IBP building, March 15.

International fact-finding missions investigating the attacks on Filipino lawyers were conducted in 2006  and in 2008.  The 2008 mission noted little or no progress has been made in the cases investigated in 2006.



















15 March 2019

Legal Forum highlights crucial role of lawyers;
Int’l delegation of lawyers looks into attacks on peers & brethren

PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE’S misconception of the role of lawyers in society has largely contributed to the continuing attacks and threats on the legal profession. This was highlighted during the Colloquium on the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers: Focus on the Philippines held yesterday March 14 at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

Over the past three years of Duterte’s administration, at least 37 lawyers, judges, and prosecutors – or more than one per month- have been killed since President Duterte assumed power on 1 July 2016. At least 26 incidents of other forms of attacks and threats have been recorded.

“I hope that we can educate the population on the indispensable role of lawyers in society,” said IBP National President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo. He added that: “I also hope that we can send the message across that we should not be attacked on the basis that we handle cases for a client.”

Day of the Endangered Lawyer Foundation Director Hans Gaasbeek of the Netherlands aired the same sentiment. Gaasbeek emphasized the need for governments to educate not only the people but also the police on the role of lawyers.

Meanwhile, the president of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) believes that the government is doing its best to address the killing of judges. Judge Felix Reyes Jr. discussed how the Supreme Court deals with the killings and attacks on the members of the Judiciary. He said that the Supreme Court had issued an administrative order detailing the actions a judge may take to secure his life. The PJA has recorded at least 29 judges killed from 1999 to 2018.

The Colloquium, sponsored mainly by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Union of International Advocates (UIA) and Day of Endangered Lawyers Foundation (DELF), is part of the International Delegation of Lawyers to the Philippines. The
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and the IBP were requested to host the 9-member Delegation of lawyers from Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands and the US.

The International Delegation of Lawyers to the Philippines is organized by the IADL, UIA, DELF and supported by the Confederation of Lawyers in Asia and the Pacific (COLAP), National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of the US, Progress Lawyers Network (PLN) of Belgium, Italian Democratic Lawyers, Japanese Lawyers for International Solidarity and Action (JALISA), and MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society of Korea.

The Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers, European Lawyers for World Human Rights and Democracy (ELDH), European Democratic Lawyers (AED), Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers of UK,
Hellenic Union of Progressive Lawyers (HUPL) of Greece, Italian National Bar Association, the Dutch League of Human Rights and the International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers (IAPL) also endorse the activity.

The Delegation wishes to know the reasons and causes of various forms of attacks against Filipino lawyers, share opinions on recommendations to abate further attacks, and remind the auuthorities of its obligation to ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.

They will be holding a series of meetings in Metro Manila and Iloilo and will publicly share their initial insights and views on Monday, March 18. #

Contact: M. Pinlac – Ad Hoc Delegation Secretariat
09159074183 2019lawyersdelegation@gmail.com

(Facebook, 15/03/19)

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The Philippines: Another lawyer slain in Tagum; family blames Duterte’s drug war

March 14, 2019

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Unidentified assailants shot dead a lawyer outside a shopping mall in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on Wednesday night, an attack blamed by the victim’s family on the government’s war on drugs.

Senior Insp. Anjanette Tirador, Tagum City police spokesperson, identified the victim as Rex Jasper Lopoz, 41, a resident of Nabunturan town, Compostela Valley.

Police said the victim was about to get into his car at the parking area of the City Mall shopping center along the Davao-Butuan highway in Visayan Village when assailants shot him at 7:21 p.m.

The victim collapsed, prompting his companion, identified as Danny Santos, to drive him to the nearest hospital.

Santos thought he had a heart attack but was declared dead upon arrival due to a bullet wound in the back, according to Chief Insp. Jason Baria, Southern Mindanao police regional spokesperson

A mall security guard allegedly heard a single gunshot and saw the victim fall, Baria said, adding responding police did not recover any bullet casings or other pieces of evidence at the scene.










https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/03/14/19/abogado-patay-sa-pamamaril-sa-tagum (TAGALOG)

https://rmn.ph/abogado-patay-sa-pamamaril-sa-tagum-city/ (TAGALOG)

The Philippines: Int’l, local lawyers’ groups gather for colloquium on role of lawyers in PH

March 12, 2019

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(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook)

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(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 20/02/19)