IBP Cebu City to police: Protect our lawyers
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)- Cebu City Chapter is calling on the police to address the violence that is “targeting” lawyers.
Lawyer Regal Oliva, president of IBP-Cebu City, said it is already concerning that lawyers, particularly those coming from their court hearings, have become victims of crimes.
Oliva made the statement in the wake of the ambush attempt on lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna on Monday morning, September 2, 2019, in front of the Cebu City Hall of Justice at the Qimonda IT Center at the North Reclamation Area in Cebu City.
“Dili ni sakto because the lawyers are the vanguard of justice. Unya karon mao ni mahitabo? We are calling the attention of the PNP (Philippine National Police) to ensure the safety not only our lawyers, but all the people,” Oliva said. (This isn’t right because the lawyers are the vanguard of justice. And then this happens?)
Dela Cerna came from a court proceeding of one of the cases he handles when the incident happened. The lawyer survived the attempt on his life as he managed to drive his white sports utility vehicle to the nearby Waterfront Police Station.
“We condemn in the highest forms the attempt to take the life of Attorney Inocencio Dela Cerna. We call upon our police force to ensure the safety of our legal practitioners in our locality,” Oliva said in a Facebook post.
Oliva said she is scheduling a meeting with Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO-7) Director Debold Sinas to discuss the safety of lawyers in Cebu.
Oliva also called on the police to conduct a speedy investigation on the incident.
Dela Cerna is not the first lawyer to have been ambushed in front of the Qimonda IT Center.
In February 2018, former Ronda vice mayor and lawyer Jonah John Ungab was killed in an ambush after he attended a hearing of his client, alleged big-time drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
Oliva also urged all lawyers to maximize the potential of their safety individually by attending self-protection seminars and training.
The IBP–Cebu Chapter also released a statement in its Facebook account, condemning the ambush try on Dela Cerna.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Cebu Chapter (IBP-Cebu) condemns in the strongest terms the attempted killing of Atty. Inocencio dela Cerna outside the Quimonda Building, Cebu City Hall of Justice this morning,” part of the statement read.
“This latest violence adds to the list of numerous unsolved cases of killings and attempted killings in Cebu and in the whole country perpetrated by motorcycle-riding assassins who remain unidentified. This latest attack directed to a lawyer in the person of Atty. Dela Cerna is not only an attack against the life of an officer of the court, but is also an assault to the rule of law and to the sensibilities of peace-loving Cebuanos.”
Like Oliva, the IBP-Cebu also asked for a speedy investigation on the incident.
“We call on the police to immediately solve this ambush and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. IBP Cebu join in solidarity with the community in denouncing violence and impunity, as we reaffirm our pledge to fulfill our role as vanguards of the rule of law and justice in society, despite the dangers.” /bmjo
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