Oliva tells lawyers: Learn self-defense, carry guns if necessary to protect yourselves
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The harassments now experienced by Cebu lawyers are meant to “sow fear” among members of the legal community.
Lawyer Regal Oliva, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City Chapter, is asking lawyers to remain calm and learn to protect themselves from any attacks.
Protection, she said, may include the possibility of arming lawyers.
“We have seen how Atty. Dela Cerna was prepared for any attack. He was prepared security wise. I do not encourage the lawyers to carry guns but its high time that you secure yourself. It seems that our community is not really safe for lawyers now,” Oliva told CDN Digital.
On Monday, lawyer Inocencio Dela Cerna survived an ambush which happened as he was about to leave the Cebu City Hall of Justice after attending a hearing of one of the cases that he was handling.
Following the attack on Dela Cerna, at least two female lawyers also claimed of having received death threats.
Lawyers Magdalena Lepiten and Kim Grace Mendoza received calls from a pre-paid mobile phone number telling them that their names appear on their “hitlist.” The male caller asked for P100, 000 in exchange for their safety.
Read More: IBP Cebu City to police: Protect our lawyers
Lepiten posted on her Facebook page on Tuesday, September 3, that she received a call from cellphone number 09971779161 at about 9:39 of the same day. The caller introduced himself as a certain “Bobby” from Davao.
“Naa ka sa listahan sa among ipa tumba. Naa koy mga taw sa Cebu,” the caller told Lepiten.
(Your name appears on our hitlit. I have men working for me in Cebu.)
After she cut off their conversation, the caller sent a text message telling Lepiten, “Ma swerte lang c dela cerna. ekaw ug di ka mag cooperate mamatay ka. 100K kapalit imong kinabuhe.”
(Dela Cerna was lucky to have survived the ambush. You will be next if you do not cooperate. P100, 000 in exchange for your life.)
Lawyer Kim Grace Mendoza also posted on her Facebook page about having received a death threat from the same person who also contacted Lepiten.
Mendoza said the suspect called her mobile phone at about 10 a.m. or 21 minutes after he also called Lepiten.
Oliva told CDN Digital that several other Cebu lawyers also received calls from the same number but opted to ignore this.
She said that the harassment on lawyers has already become “alarming.” The still unidentified caller “clearly wants to sow fear to the legal community in Cebu.”
To protect themselves, Oliva said it would be best for lawyers to undergo self-defense trainings and to equip themselves. | dcb
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