Group condemns killing of lawyer in Bukidnon

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) has condemned on Saturday the recent killing of a legal practitioner who was gunned down by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Barangay 10, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

The police identified the victim as Winston Intong, 53, male, married, and a resident of said barangay.

A police report said Intong was at a mini-market near his home buying some vegetables when the two assailants shot him to death in the morning of January 14.

The UPLM has called the shooting “an attack on the rule of law in general”.

“An officer of the court, Atty. Intong was denied of his rightful day in court when he was gunned down by motorcycle-riding in tandem, in gross violation of his right to life, security, and due process,” said lawyer Beverly Musni, a member of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM), in a statement.

The group has noted that that there have been 54 lawyers, prosecutors, and judges who became victims of extrajudicial killings since 2016.

Along with other rights and lawyers organizations, UPLM said it feared that “the state of impunity in the country would further fuel the spate of killings not just against members of the bar but also of ordinary folks”.

UPLM said that under the United Nations basic principles on the role of lawyers, governments are mandated to ensure that lawyers are able to perform their profession without intimidation, hindrance, harassment, or improper interference, able to travel, and to consult with their clients freely both within their country and abroad, and shall not suffer, or be threatened with prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards, and ethics.

“Members of the legal profession must unite, rise and act on the brazen and seemingly endless attacks lawyers, prosecutors, and judges,” Musni said.

For the series of killings of legal professionals, the UPLM said it has called upon the government to decisively act now and put an end to these attacks, as it must uphold the role of lawyers in society.

“It must exact accountability through the swift and effective investigation and prosecution of the killers of Atty. Winston Intong, by way of showing its seriousness to stem the increasing tide of impunity the country today,” Musni added. Newsline.ph

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