By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Stop the attacks against lawyers.
This was the call of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Negros Oriental Chapter and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), as they strongly condemned the “brutal killing” of a lawyer in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on July 23, 2019.
In a press statement on Wednesday, the IBP demanded justice for the death of lawyer Anthony Trinidad.
Trinidad was gunned down by unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants while on his way home in their car with his wife in Guihulngan City.
He came from a court hearing in La Libertad town. His wife sustained serious injuries in the incident.
The IBP described the killing as “horrific” and “gruesome,” claiming that the idea that lawless men could brazenly take the life of a good and honest man fills us with horror.
“No words could sufficiently express the disgust and indignation we feel towards the appalling murders of our brothers and sisters in the legal profession,” the group said.
“We hope that the criminals behind these atrocious acts will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the group said, adding that they continue to pray for the safety and protection of everyone.
Meanwhile, the NUPL represented by its secretary general Ephraim Cortez and spokesperson Josalee Deinla said in a press statement that Trinidad previously received death threats due to the cases he was handling, some of which were that of political prisoners in the region.
Earlier in 2018, he was even included in a hit list by an alleged anti-communist group called Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista (KAGUBAK), the group said.
“This only proves that the perceived dangers of being arbitrarily, maliciously and baselessly red-tagged are neither imaginary nor contrived, but constitute real threats to life, liberty and security,” the group added.
The NUPL said Trinidad’s death is added to the death toll of at least 40 judges, prosecutors, and lawyers since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.
“How can we believe the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo that the Philippine justice system is “robust, functional, and very effective” when lawyers themselves in pursuit of peace and justice are in the line of fire?,” the group asked.
This is a manifestation of the culture of impunity that the administration has been perpetuating, the group said.
The local police continue to probe Trinidad’s case to establish the motive and identify the perpetrators.