The Integrated Bar of the Philippines is offering a P10-million reward to encourage witnesses in the killings of judges, lawyers and prosecutors to help the authorities investigate those killings.
IBP national president Domingo Egon Cayosa said the reward system was part of the lawyers’ security program to persuade witnesses to come out and cooperate with law enforcement agencies in identifying the killers of judges, lawyers and prosecutors.
“This is to encourage witnesses and whistleblowers to expedite, investigate and prosecute, but more importantly to act as a deterrent,” Cayosa said, adding the money for the reward would come from the IBP itself.
“We have to encourage witnesses to help law enforcement agencies track down the perpetrators of this crime,” he said.
Cayosa said they were just waiting for the signing of a memorandum of agreement with law enforcement agencies governing the reward system before it was implemented.
The IBP, the mandatory national organization of lawyers in the country, counts more than 40,000 members.
Cayosa said included in the lawyers’ security program was the setting up of a hotline among IBP leaders, the judiciary and security forces for quick coordination, the training of lawyers in personal security, and the monitoring of cases of killings and other violent attacks.
Earlier, the Supreme Court said 31 judges had been killed since 1999, the latest incident being that of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court Judge Mario Anacleto Banez who was attacked by unidentified gunmen while he was on his way home in La Union last week.
Besides Banez, the other murdered judges under the present administration were Butuan City RTC Branch 4 Judge Godofredo Abul Jr. (Aug. 5, 2017), Lagonoy, Camarines Sur MTC Judge Ricky Begino (June 12, 2018), Ozamiz City RTC Branch 15 Judge Edmundo Pintac (Oct. 8, 2018) and Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte RTC Branch 11 Judge Reymar Lacaya (May 9, 2019).