Lawyers drop drug cases over attacks

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Lawyers in Surigao del Norte have withdrawn their representation in drug-related cases in protest over recent gun attacks in Surigao City that left a retired judge dead and a prosecutor wounded.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Surigao del Norte chapter called for justice for the killing of retired Surigao del Norte judge Victor Canoy on Feb. 2 and the slay attempt on Surigao City prosecutor Manuel Tesioma.

“Stop killing lawyers. Let us do our jobs as defenders of rights and due process,” the IBP statement read.

“The attacks are against the very foundation of the profession and the institution to defend the accused and the accuser. As officers of the court, we reiterate our commitment to ensure that all citizens must be accorded due process under the law,” the IBP said.

The lawyers said they would not handle drug-related cases until the perpetrators are arrested. “We will not be able to do our jobs if our lives and the lives of our families are in peril,” they said.

IBP members held a motorcade in Surigao City yesterday to “amplify our rage at the pointless violence targeting our colleagues in the legal profession.”

Noel Pangilinan, IBP-Surigao del Norte president, noted that only court employees are reporting for work at the Hall of Justice in Surigao City for fear of their lives.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the slay attempt on Tesioma.  

Tesioma, 47, was in front of his house in Barangay Canlanipa when he was shot. The incident occurred only four days after Canoy was shot dead.

The attack was the third on prosecutors under the Duterte administration after Mati City prosecutor Rolando Acido in October and Quezon City prosecutor Noel Mingoa last month.

Hong Kong Resident, 2 others fall

Meanwhile, a Hong Kong-based drug suspect and two of his alleged cohorts were arrested in a sting in Baguio City on Wednesday.

Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) collared Joemar Cañaveral, 39, a resident of central Hong Kong; John Daryl Villanueva, 30, alias Jong, of Barangay Leonila Hill and Clint Joseph Macachor, 28,  of Aurora Hill also in Baguio City after selling two sachets of suspected shabu  for P14,000 to  an undercover agent.

Edgar Apalla, PDEA-Cordillera director, said drug paraphernalia and a mobile phone were also recovered from the suspects. – Edu Punay, Ben Serrano, Raymund Catindig, Artemio Dumlao


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