IBP creates task force to probe attacks vs. lawyers

MANILA -- After the attack on the lawyer of a self-confessed drug lord and the recent ambush of lawyer in Quezon City, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has created a task force to investigate and prosecute those behind the killings of lawyers.

In a resolution issued Friday, the IBP said it will create a national task force to investigate, document, prosecute or assist in the prosecution of cases involving the murder or violent assault against the members of the Bar and/or their families.

The IBP said it will appoint five members in the task force, including a chairman.

The IBP urged its chapters to provide the said Task Force their full cooperation, support and assistance in the investigation, documentation and prosecution of the said cases.

The task force is required to submit a semi-annual report to the IBP board.

"The apparent continued attacks on the members of the Bar, none of which had been successfully resolved or prosecuted, create an impression of impunity, wherein State forces appear indifferent and helpless, or, worse, in one case, even involved in such violent assaults," the IBP said.

This impression of impunity, in turn, creates a chilling effect on members of the Bar, who, in the discharge of the solemn duties as officers of the court and guardians of the Rule of Law, are placed under a serious, grave and imminent threat to their life and family," the group lamented.

Whereas, it is thus of paramount need for these cases to be duly investigated, documented and prosecuted, where the perpetrators are exposed, convicted and penalized in accordance with law, it stated.

The IBP made this move following the recent attack on two lawyers -- Argel Cabatbat, who was shot dead last Feb. 13, and Jonah John Ungab, vice mayor of Ronda town in Cebu who served as lawyer of detained drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. Ungab was killed last February 19 shortly after attending his duties in court.

The IBP, which consists of more than 55,000 lawyers in the country, called on authorities to expedite the investigations and bring the perpetrators to justice. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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