Another attack on lawyer; 39 recorded attacks since 2016


By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – The shooting down of a female prosecutor Monday in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, but luckily enough to survive has angered lawyers with affiliates nationwide.

The shooting of Prosecutor Josephine Carranzo Olivar has worried members of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) who urged for a thorough investigation on the brazen shooting of the provincial prosecutor in Oriental Mindoro yesterday.

Reports disclose that Prosecutor Olivar was shot several times in front of her home in Calapan. She sustained wounds in the head and body but fortunately is now in stable condition.

“We are immensely concerned about this seemingly unending and lamentably unresolved attacks on members of our profession,” NUPL, in a statement, informed Bicol in Naga City.

Olivar is the seventh prosecutor attacked under the Duterte administration. A total of at least 39 lawyers, judges and prosecutors have been killed apparently in relation to their work since 2016, three of which just happened in the last month.

According to NUPL, there are many others who have been attacked in other forms like labelling, threats, harassment, intimidation, surveillance, false charges, and even arrests.

Even the policemen who have been identified to have been involved in the heinous murder of Quezon City Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco are now off the hook, NUPL said.

We condemn this attack on Olivar and we call out once again the Philippine government to abide by its responsibility under the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers which clearly mandates that:

16. Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference xxx;
17. Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities; and
18. Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.

“This latest attack comes on the heels of the unrelenting vicious attacks on NUPL as a whole. It also highlights the imperative for an independent investigation on the other “staggering” killings as urged by several UN officials including the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers,” NUPL said.

NUPL swear justice: With a surfeit of lawyers in all branches, levels and interstices of government, it must be a no-brainer that these attacks must be addressed, resolved and prevented with utmost dispatch and urgency. We must go beyond bombastic rhetoric, formulaic task forces and trite palliatives lest we learn of another one of our own biting the dust. []


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