Australian law prof: Philippines a very dangerous place for lawyers
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - September 7, 2015 - 9:20pm

MANILA, Philippines – An Australian law professor on Monday said the “Philippines is a very dangerous place for lawyers” following the death of a Baler Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge.

In a letter sent to Philstar.com, Gill Boehringer, former dean of Macquarie University School of Law in Sydney, Australia, urged the government to act on protecting the lawyers under threat.

“Lawyers are not the most admired profession, but without them the rule of law would not survive. It is often the lawyers who are most concerned to protect the rights of others without thought for their own safety who are the victims of murderous attacks,”

Boehringer cited that Baler RTC Judge Erwin Alba, shot dead last September 1, was the 24th judge murdered in the Philippines since 1999.

“Baler RTC Judge Erwin Alaba, shot dead as reported in your paper last week, was the 24th judge murdered in the Philippines since 1999. According to research data gathered by the International Association of People’s Lawyers, in that same period there were a total of 116 lawyers killed,” Boehringer said.

“Clearly the Philippines is a very dangerous place for lawyers,” he added.

Boehringer also lamented that the media is not giving much publicity to killings of lawyers in the Philippines.

The Australian law professor noted that there have been 38 lawyers killed during the tenure of President Benigno Aquino III. This number is bigger than 32 journalists killed during the same period.

“While there is much publicity given, rightfully, to the killings of journalists, accompanied by calls for the government to develop and implement policy for protecting them, there is little such concern expressed in the media for the protection of lawyers.” Boehringer said.

Alba, who last year acquitted a People’s Army (NPA) commander accused of killing two soldiers 15 years ago, was shot dead by an unknown gunman riding a motorcycle last September 1. His wife, Margarita also sustained a bullet wound from the incident.

The Supreme Court (SC) condemned the killing of Alba and called for a speedy probe into the case.

“The Supreme Court condemns in the strongest terms the killing of Judge Alba and the injuring of his wife. It calls on the authorities concerned to take all necessary steps with all the deliberate speed to do justice for Judge Alba and his wife by fully investigating the crimes committed today,” read the SC’s statement released September 1.

ACIRC AN AUSTRALIAN BALER REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BOEHRINGER CLEARLY THE PHILIPPINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE JUDGE JUDGE ALBA JUDGE ERWIN ALABA LAWYERS SUPREME COURT
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