Murder of Sorsogon paralegal linked to failed slay try on lawyer boss – says NUPL

BICOLTODAY.COM PHOTO

By BicolToday.com News Team

SORSOGON CITY – The gunning down of a paralegal in Gubat town took a different turn when organized lawyers nationwide deplored the murder over the week as an “attack on a human rights lawyer”, but the gunmen instead chose the paralegal as an “easy target”.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), in a statement, said the shooting of Edwin Pura was linked to the failed assassination try of lawyer Ron Espinosa last August.

Pura, easy target?

Edwin Pura, 49, was killed by two armed men at Barangay Paradijon, Gubat, Sorsogon past twelve early Wednesday morning, October 25, 2017. Pura headed to Angie Resto Bar located at said barangay for security measures when he noticed two unidentified men, who are suspected to be members of the military, following him. Pura was shot by the said men at the resto-bar.

(Read news link: http://bicoltoday.com/2017/10/25/para-legal-companion-shot-dead-in-sorsogon-injured-waitress-survived-17-recorded-ejks-since-2016/ )

According to rights group Karapatan Sorsogon, Pura was the latest victim in the series of extrajudicial killings in Sorsogon under the Duterte Administration,

Attack on human rights lawyer Ron Espinosa

“The killing of Pura is also an attack against Atty. Espinosa considering that it follows the failed attempt to take the life of Atty. Espinosa sometime in the last week of August 2017 at his law office in Sorsogon City by an armed man who backed off due to the presence of clients and media in Atty, Espinosa’s office,” said NUPL, in a statement signed by Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez, NUPL Secretary-General, and Atty. Bart Rayco, NUPL-Albay.

NUPL has strongly condemned the attacks against lawyer Espinosa, who is NUPL Second Vice President for Luzon, and, this time, the killing of his paralegal staff Edwin Pura.

Pura had been working as a paralegal for Espinosa for more than a year.

Human rights defenders

As clarified by NUPL, Espinosa last year learned that his name was in the PNP drug watch list, but shrugged it off knowing for himself that there is no truth to the alleged drug links, but considered it as a part of harassment against him as a human rights lawyer.

As narrated, Espinosa and Pura were colleagues and former members of League of Filipino Students – Sorsogon.

Atty. Espinosa, together with Pura, has been handling human rights cases in Sorsogon since 2013.

The two were both part of the Quick Reaction Team in search of missing farmers in Bondoc Peninsula, San Andres, Quezon headed by Karapatan sometime in March 2017. Espinosa was the counsel in the Amparo case filed in relation to the missing farmers.

Edwin Pura. BICOLTODAY.COM PHOTO

State-sanctioned harassment against dissenters

NUPL strongly believes the failed attempt to take Espinosa’s life in August and the killing of Pura are part of the state’s systematic pattern of harassment against its dissenters.

“It must be noted that human rights lawyer Atty. Gil Gogol was shot to death in 2006 near the military detachment in Gubat, Sorsogon,” said.

NUPL theorized Pura’s killing on the surface is “orchestrated” after the failed attempt to silence Espinosa and to stop him from upholding and defending human rights not only in the cases that he handles, but in several fora as well. This attack against Espinosa and his paralegal is not only a violation of the sacred right to life but an attack against a lawyer who is merely performing his functions and abiding by his oath to defend human rights as a member of the legal profession.

“These desperate actions at the expense of human life seemingly have the intention to put into silence human rights defenders in Sorsogon and the rest of the Philippines and a chilling effect to the people,” NUPL said.

“These incidents are alarming, but we do not dwell in stillness and linger in fear. The people’s voices will not die in silence as NUPL strongly denounces these attacks against our members and their paralegals and even those other members of the legal profession. Despite previous unresolved cases of killings, we still call on the authorities and challenge them to take the appropriate action. We do not only call for justice. Amidst all of these — impunity, increasing number of unresolved extrajudicial killings under Duterte administration, the unwritten but implied’ go-signal’ from the head honcho, and under the tilted scales of justice— we will continue to search for justice in every arena/forum and fight for the rights of the people by all legal means, that we can and we were trained for, in and outside the courts,” NUPL declared. [BicolToday.com]

Posted by on October 30, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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