Philippine senators Manny Pacquiao and Francis Pangilinan expressed their support for the Supreme Court in its condemnation of the killings and harassments of judges and lawyers in the country which saw the death of 61 law practitioners.
The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a strongly-worded statement slamming the killings and threats against judges and lawyers.
It called such acts tantamount to an “assault” on the judiciary — “the very bedrock on which the rule of law stands.”
“I stand with the Supreme Court en banc in its call for an end to the systematic assault on the country’s justice system and the entire legal profession,” Sen. Pacquiao, an ally of the Duterte administration, said in a statement.
“I support the High Tribunal’s call for action on the killings and harassments against judges and lawyers,” he added.
“I am against any policy that tramples on the basic principle of human rights which is the right to counsel. Our lawyers must be free and even duty-bound to represent those accused of violating the law,” Sen. Pacquiao went on.
“Lawyers should not be suspected, discriminated against, faulted, red-tagged, or attacked in performing their sworn duties,” he added.
Senator Pangilinan, an opposition lawmaker, likewise hailed the Supreme Court.
“Finally and thankfully the SC has found its voice after the deaths of 61 lawyers and the daily killings of over 30,000 of our hapless citizens, mostly poor, since July of 2016,” Sen. Pangilinan, a lawyer himself, said on Twitter.
“It is time we all stand up and be counted in vigorously opposing the mass murder of our citizens,” he added.
Over 60 lawyers were killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte — more than the 49 lawyers and judges killed from the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos to the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
One lawyer has been missing since 2019 while 10 members of the legal profession have survived murderous attacks, the last of whom was Angelo Karlo Guillen of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers. He was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver. (Source: INQUIRER.net)