Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 45 Judge Ma. Theresa Abadilla was shot and killed by her clerk of court inside her own chamber at the Manila City Hall on Wednesday.
Abadilla, 44, was rushed to the Manila Medical Center but was declared dead past 3 p.m., according to a report by the Manila Police District’s Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (SMaRT).
The clerk of court, 42-year-old lawyer Amador Rebato Jr., killed himself after shooting the judge and died, police said.
Major Rosalino Ibay Jr., head of the Manila Police District Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (MPD SMaRT) who was among the first responders at the crime scene, identified Rebato.
Interviewed on Super Radyo DZBB, Police Captain Henry Navarro, Homicide Division Chief and Acting PIO of the Manila Police District, said Rebato survived COVID-19 but suffered from depression.
Rebato was supposed to resign his post when he met Abadilla on Wednesday, Navarro said.
Abadilla was the eighth judge to be killed since the Duterte administration came to power in 2016 and the 51st in the legal profession during that time, records showed.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta expressed his sadness over Abadilla’s death, as he ordered stricter security in courthouses across the country.
Peralta said Abadilla’s passing was ‘a big loss to the judiciary,” since he knew her as an “upright and highly-competent magistrate.”
In a statement, Peralta said that although courthouses have security protocols, he has directed Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez to “employ stricter measures to prevent incidents like these from happening again.”
He said Abadilla worked at the Supreme Court as a law clerk for more than a decade before she became a judge. He offered his condolences to the judge’s family, whom he said he knows “very well” because they are also from his province of Ilocos Norte.
The Chief Justice also sent his condolences to the family of Abadilla, including her mother Susan, and other siblings.
Retired chief justice Lucas Bersamin, for his part, said Abadilla was like family to him and his wife.
“She was a hardworking judge. Her death, which was senseless, diminishes us all,” Bersamin said in a statement.
The incident took place on the fifth floor of the building, according to the police report.
The radio report said SMaRT personnel have already arrived in the area to probe the incident.
Abadilla, 44 years old, reportedly died while being revived.
An initial report by the MPD said the shooting happened around 2:45 p.m. inside Rm 535, 5th floor of the Manila City Hall.