A leader of the House of Representatives on Monday denounced the recent killing of a lawyer and judge in separate incidents, which he said added to the growing number of lawyers, judges and prosecutors killed since 2016 and that now totaled 52.
Lawyer Eric Jay Magcamit was gunned down on Tuesday while on his way to a hearing in Quezon, Palawan. Meanwhile, Judge Maria Theresa Abadilla was shot by her clerk of court inside her own chamber in Manila on Nov. 11.
Deputy Majority Leader and Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles had filed House Resolution 185 in 2019 calling for an inquiry into the deaths of law practitioners.
“I denounce these latest acts of violence against workers of the justice sector. I urge our authorities to investigate these killings and resolve all pending investigations so that the victims and their families can have justice,” Nograles, vice chairman of the House committee on justice, said.
His resolution calls for the creation by the Department of Justice and Philippine National Police, in close coordination with the Commission on Human Rights and Integrated Bar of the Philippines, of a special task force to enforce legal action against the perpetrators of crimes against workers in the legal sector.
Nograles, a Harvard-trained lawyer, says the perpetration of violence against workers of the law threatens the justice system.
“We need to protect our law workers to reassure our people that they, too, will be safe if they wish to fight for their rights within our justice system,” Nograles said.
He also urged the DOJ and the PNP to commit to speedily and credibly resolving pending investigations into the deaths of judges, lawyers and prosecutors.