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IBP urges SC to take actions in protecting lawyers following the ambush of its member Ako Bicol Rep. Batocabe

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The Integrated Bar of the Philippines has urged the Supreme Court to take action in protecting lawyers following the assassination of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, a member of IBP-Albay.

The IBP likewise expressed outraged and condemnation over the ambush of Batocabe last Saturday in Daraga, Albay.

“On December 22, 2018, Rodel Batocabe, a card-bearing member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Albay Chapter, and a sitting member of the House of Representatives, was gunned down by still unidentified assassins in the Province of Albay,” the IBP said in a statement.

“We join other sectors in condemning his daylight assassination, even as we remain shocked by the audacity of the concerted action that can only find success in an environment that fosters impunity,” it added.

The IBP also said aside from Batocabe, two lawyers were killed, namely, Erfe del Castillo, a member of IBP Negros Occidental, and NUPL-Negros Secretary General Atty. Benjamin Ramos.

“Via an open online petition, beginning with seventy-eight (78) lawyers who agreed to append their names thereto, we respectfully urge the Supreme Court of the Philippines, through the Honorable Chief Justice, to take immediate action to protect lawyers in the Philippines as they perform their function to protect their clients’ rights and uphold the rule of law,” the IBP said.

The group urged the the Supreme Court to:

• Take appropriate steps to ensure a thorough, prompt, impartial, and independent investigation into all the killings of lawyers from 30 June 2016; and

• Convene a dialogue between the Supreme Court, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, State security forces, particularly the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, other relevant government agencies, civil society organizations, and other lawyer organizations, where all parties could engage in open and constructive discussion on ensuring the safety and security of lawyers.