MANILA The National Prosecution Service (NPS), an agency under the Department of Justice (DOJ), on Wednesday strongly condemned the killing of a former state prosecutor in Ozamiz City.
In a statement, Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr., NPS chief, said it is high time that prosecutors be armed to be able to defend themselves from attacks.
The senseless and violent bloodshed has gone long enough to demoralize those who have remained passionate and hardworking in their profession. Time and again, the prosecutors are further exposed to the perils of the job that place them at greater risks and danger, Catalan said in a statement.
It is high time that a nationwide call to arm the NPS be made. That self-defense trainings and mechanisms be set in place to safeguard the very lives of these selfless public servants," he added.
Catalan also said the series of killings targeting prosecutors have raised serious concerns about their safety considering that the motive of the perpetrators is mysterious.
Lawyer Geronimo S. Marabe, Jr, was shot dead by four unidentified assailants while he was driving his car in Barangay 50th District in Ozamis City Tuesday.
Probers have yet to determine the motive behind the killing.
Marabe had served as a public prosecutor for several cases involving the Parojinogs drug cartel in Ozamis.
Last May 17, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra expressed support for the move seeking to provide bullet-proof vests for state prosecutors and arm them for self-defense though he said they cannot easily do it because of budgetary constraints.
The NPS said Marabe, who reportedly served as prosecutor in drug cases against the Parojinog family, was the 14th prosecutor killed in the country over the last 26 years.
Over the past 26 years, 14 prosecutors have been brutally killed, these prosecutors often called bastions of justice and defenders of truth earned the ire of assassins, and their lives cut short; their deaths until now are unresolved. Most of them were targeted in the line of duty and their deaths were obviously work related, Catalan explained.
"The figures do not lie. These blatant attacks have disturbingly escalated through the years. With each statistic more deliberate and brazen than the last; showing how these shameless perpetrators have become fearless of anything or anyone," Catalan stressed.
He noted that each death of a fallen prosecutor is a tragedy that leaves a penetrating and pricking mark.
A constant reminder that another brethren fell prey to these cowardly acts by assassins hiding in their dark masks of anonymity, he said.
But Catalan assured that prosecutors will not be intimidated by the spate of killings of their colleagues and continue to perform their duties under the law.
"Make no mistake, the NPS shall stand its ground. These atrocities will never disable nor destroy this stable institution. We stand united and strong in these challenging times," Catalan vowed.
Scarred (and) disturbed by their untimely deaths, the National Prosecution Service, continuous to mourn and will remain steadfast in the call for a thorough investigation so justice is expeditiously served, said Catalan.
Earlier this month, Quezon City Deputy Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco was shot dead while in his car with his children. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency