Foreign lawyers blame Duterte administration to lawyer killings

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Foreign lawyers groups on Monday blamed the spate of unsolved murders of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors to the Duterte administration.

In a press briefing at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) office in Pasig City, the lawyers who came from six different countries claimed that they have evidence to conclude that some of the attacks were “state-sanctioned.”

“Upon review of the data, there are patterns suggesting a connection between the killings and the actions of the PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines). There are recurrent elements sustaining such connection,” they said.

“Severe human rights violations are being conducted against lawyers and other legal professionals. There has been a sharp increase int these violations, particularly extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration,” they said.

Furthermore, the lawyers noted that some of the victims were political and drug cases, even as they lamented that authorities failed to exhaustively probe the killings since there were no inventory of used guns, no documented files about the killings linked to the judiciary, refusal to protect witnesses and even harassment of witnesses by police or military.”

“There is no structural protection, compensation or remedy for the victims and their families. There is lack of effective oversight of executive bodies and law enforcement agencies, supporting a culture of impunity,” the lawyers who came from
Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and the United States, said.

The group recommended several measures to stop the violence against lawyers, prosecutors, and judges.

“President Duterte and his administration should refrain from publicly attacking lawyers and instead publicly condemn all attacks against lawyers, prosecutors and judges at all levels in strong terms,” the foreign lawyers suggested.

They also called on the government to “end the practice of red-tagging and end public disclosure of drug list.”

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