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DOJ orders NBI probe into Abadilla shooting, notes security implications for judiciary

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
DOJ orders NBI probe into Abadilla shooting, notes security implications for judiciary
People inside the Manila City Hall were ushered out on Wednesday afternoon after a judge was shot insider her chamber.
The STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the killing of Manila court judge Maria Teresa Abadilla.

Guevarra in a message noted that while the circumstances of Abadilla’s killing “appears to have arisen from an internal issue with her clerk of court,” he nonetheless ordered an NBI parallel probe into the incident.

The DOJ chief pointed out that Abadilla’s killing “has implications on the personal security of our judges and justices.”

Abadilla was shot dead by clerk of court, lawyer Amador Rebato Jr. who later killed himself. The incident happened on Wednesday afternoon, inside Abadilla’s chambers in the Manila court.

Investigators, citing witness testimony, said the two were discussing Rebato’s performance, which had been affected when he contracted the coronavirus.

Abadilla is the 51st member of the legal profession killed since the start of the Duterte administration.

Court policies under review

Court Administrator Midas Marquez, for his part, said they are also conducting a separate investigation and “reviewing court policies.”

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said he directed Marquez to enforce stricter policies to prevent such incident from happening in the future.

“Although there are currently security protocols in place in all our courthouses, I have directed the Court Administrator to employ stricter measures to prevent incidents like these from happening again,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

The chief justice said he personally knew Abadilla, who worked at the SC as a law clerk for more than a decade before she became a trial court judge. Peralta said her death is a “big loss to the Judiciary.”

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines meanwhile vowed it will continue to help lawyers handle stress and improve their personal security in the wake of the tragic deaths of Abadilla and Rebato.

The Department of Health urges people seeking professional support to get in touch with the National Center for Mental Health hotlines at 0917-899-USAP (8727) or 899-USAP (8727); or its Mind Matters hotline at 09189424864

The HOPELINE Project is a 24/7 service for depression and suicide prevention.

They can be reached at the following numbers: 

(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917 558 HOPE (4673)
2919 (toll-free number for all GLOBE and TM subscribers)

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

MENARDO GUEVARRA

NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

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