IBP forms task force vs attacks on lawyers

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has created a task force to investigate the killings of lawyers in the country.

In a resolution issued yesterday, the IBP board of governors authorized their national president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo to appoint the chairman and four members of the panel “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 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 explained in creating the task force.

The IBP, a mandatory organization of over 55,000 lawyers in the country, made the move following the recent attacks on two lawyers – Argel Cabatbat last Feb. 13 and Jonah John Ungab, vice mayor of Ronda town in Cebu who served as lawyer of detained drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, last Feb. 19.

“The investigation of these cases has remained open-ended or unresolved. Nor has there been any of the cases prosecuted before our courts of justice, with the perpetrators roaming freely in our midst and with the families of the victims haplessly and silently bearing the pain and suffering of a murdered loved one,” it explained.

The IBP has already condemned the attacks on Cabatbat and Ungab and called on authorities to expedite the investigations and bring the perpetrators to justice.

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