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House urged to condemn, probe into red-tagging of Mandaluyong judge

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
House urged to condemn, probe into red-tagging of Mandaluyong judge
In this undated photo, militants troop to the Senate building in Pasay City for the hearing of the committee on national defense and security on the issue of red-tagging.
The STAR / KJ Rosales, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc is asking the House of Representatives to condemn and investigate the red-tagging of a Mandaluyong judge who freed in February a labor organizer and a journalist.

The six-member group said that the red-tagging of Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 209 Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio comes at a time when threats against members of the legal profession are at an “all-time high.”

“As members of Congress and as representatives of the people, we should not countenance these kinds of attacks against members of the legal profession, those tasked in the dispensation of justice in our country, and even, those against ordinary individuals,” the progressive lawmakers said in House Resolution No. 1674.

A month after she junked charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against labor organizer Rodrigo Esparago and journalist Lady Ann Salem, a tarpaulin linking her to the communist rebellion was hung along EDSA.

The tarpaulin, supposedly coming from communist rebels, thanked the judge for swiftly freeing their “kasama” (comrades) Esparago and Salem.

The Commission on Human Rights said the red-tagging of Quisumbing-Ignacio exposed her to “grave danger,” while the Integrated Bar of the Philippines called on all sectors to stop “terrorizing or attacking” judges.

The Makabayan bloc noted that this is not the first time that the judiciary faced threats, recalling that Calbayog City police asked on March 12 for names of lawyers who are representing alleged communist rebels.

“This created a ‘chilling effect’ against lawyers who are merely protecting the rights of their clients knowing that they are actively being surveilled by state security forces,” the leftist lawmakers said.

Attacks on the legal profession have been rampant under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, with a Free Legal Assistance Group tally showing that 61 lawyers were killed since the start of his term — a number higher than all the killing of lawyers from the administrations of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to former President Benigno Aquino III.

This has prompted several groups of lawyers to plead to the Supreme Court to take action against the threats and killings.

After much clamor and bloodshed, the Supreme Court finally broke its silence Tuesday, with all members of the court issuing a rare statement condemning “in the strongest sense every instance where a lawyer is threatened or killed and where a judge is threatened and unfairly labelled.”

Among the actions the SC said it has taken is to direct the Office of the Court Administrator to coordinate with law enforcers to investigate an attempt to link a judge to communist rebels. — with a report from Kristine Joy Patag

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MAKABAYAN BLOC

RED-TAGGING

SUPREME COURT

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 23, 2021 - 3:47pm

Chief Justice Teresita De Castro confirms the death of Ozamiz Regional Trial Court Judge Edmundo Pintac, who was shot on his way home on Monday, October 8.

"I am calling on the Philippine National Police to exert all means and efforts to apprehend the perpetrators at the soonest possible time," she says in a statement.

Last week, an Ilocos Norte clerk of court was killed and process server injured in an ambush in Batac City.

March 23, 2021 - 3:47pm

The Supreme Court condemns in the strongest sense every instance where a lawyer or judge is threatened.

Reading the statement of the high court, SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka says to threaten judges and lawyers is no less than an assault to the judiciary.

"The assault the judiciary is to shake the very bedrock on which the rule of law stands. This cannot be allowed in a civilized society like ours," he says. —  report from Philstar.com/Kristine Joy Patag

November 23, 2020 - 3:57pm

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines' Cebu City chapter says it "condemns to the highest degree" the shooting of lawyer Joey Luis Wee outside his office in Barangay Kasambagan in Cebu City.

In a statement carried by The Freeman, IBP-Cebu City says Wee is fighteing for his life in a Cebu City hospital.

"The attempt to take any life will never be tolerated in a civilized society. The brazen attack to our brother in the legal profession is taken as an attack to the whole legal community. We call upon all concerned agencies of government to immediately address this case and see to it that all perpetrators be brought to justice," it also says.

Last week, 35-year-old lawyer Eric Jay Magcamit was shot and killed in Palawan while he was headed to a court hearing.

Earlier this month, Manila court judge Maria Teresa Abadilla was shot dead by her clerk of court, lawyer Amador Rebato Jr. 

Rebato later killed himself. 

Abadilla's shooting has prompted a National Bureau of Investigation probe and a review of court security protocol.

RELATED: After Manila court shooting, IBP says to continue helping lawyers with stress, security

November 11, 2019 - 12:44pm

Probers are optimistic it would only take a little more time for the investigation into the murder of Ilocos Sur Judge Anacleto Mario Bañez comes to a close.

This,as the slain judge will be laid to rest at the private Forest Lake memorial park in San Juan, La Union on Wednesday.

“We already have witnesses,” assures La Union police director Silverio Ordinado, as he bares that they have already a “person of interest” in the ambush.

The judge was driving home in San Fernando City, La Union at around when motorcycle-cycle gunmen fired at him at barangay Mameltac last Tuesday. ?— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 7, 2019 - 4:37pm

Ilocos Sur Judge Mario Anacleto Marrerro Bañez’s work in the Regional Trial Court branch 25 in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur and even personal dealings are being sifted through by the La Union police to nail down his killer.

La Union police director Lt. Col. Silverio Ordinado said the regional polic The’s cybercrime unit have been tasked to enhance the close circuit television (CCTV) footages of the suspects to ascertain their identities.

The Judge was driving home aboard his Hyundai accent car to his family San Fernando City, La Union at around 5:40 Tuesday afternoon when motorcycle-cycle gunmen fired at him at barangay Mameltac. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 5, 2019 - 9:23pm

Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court Branch 25 was shot in San Fernando, La Union on Tuesday afternoon, Court Administrator Midas Marquez confirms.

According to a police incident report, Bañez was heading home in his car when he was shot by an unidentified gunman who fled the scene after the incident.

He was reportedly rushed to Bethany Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

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