IADL RESOLUTION CALLING ON THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO STOP THE ATTACKS ON LAWYERS

WHEREAS, it has come to our attention that 35 members of the legal profession have been killed in the Philippines since Mr. Rodrigo Duterte became President 29 months ago;

WHEREAS, 4 of those killed are judges, 9 are public prosecutors, and 22 are lawyers;

WHEREAS, the killings of our colleagues appear to be work-related and have possible connection with their exercise of the legal profession;

WHEREAS, we are horrified and outraged by the recent cold-blooded and premeditated assasination of Atty. Benjamin T. Ramos, a founding member and local officer of our Philippine associate, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL);

WHEREAS, we take full note that Atty. Ramos was a pro bono counsel for small landless farmers, activists, political prisoners, people’s organizations and environmentalists;

WHEREAS, we are also gravely concerned about other attacks done with equal impunity in the form of threats, harassment, intimidation, red-scare or labelling, and false or nuisance charges against individual lawyers, human rights lawyers groups like NUPL, as well as other human rights defenders;

WHEREAS, we are particularly disturbed by the vicious harassment and filing of absolutely baseless non-bailable charges of kidnapping against law professor Atty. Kathy Panguban,head of NUPL’s Women and Children’s Committee, who merely assisted a mother to get custody of her minor child who himself survived a massacre of peasants by State-supported paramilitary;

WHEREAS, we are also alarmed by the various threats, harassment and intimidation against other members and officers of the NUPL including the recent brazen hounding of their convoy apparently by death squads of the Philippine military on the eve of Atty. Ramos’ interment;

WHEREAS, these totally unacceptable attacks, as in similar attacks in other countries, are in blatant violation of, among others, the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and is a failure of the Philippine government to protect its lawyers from any interference or hindrance in the exercise of their profession;

WHEREFORE, we members of the governing Bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and other jurists, lawyers, judges, law students and law professors from Algeria, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam RESOLVE to:

1. DEPLORE most strongly these killings and other attacks on our colleagues in the Philippines;

2. SUPPORT the overwhelming protests and broad calls for justice by various lawyers and non-lawyers worldwide;

3. URGE the Philippine government to genuinely and credibly investigate the circumstances and reasons for the attacks in order to hold the perpetrators accountable and to prevent or deter future attacks;

4. CALL on the Philippine government as well as the Supreme Court and the bar associations to find concrete ways to stave off these attacks and to protect our Filipino lawyers;

5. ENJOIN our member associations and individuals to undertake and join all appropriate, effective and timely actions, activities and campaigns to address this very serious matter; and,
6. COOPERATE with other lawyers organizations and associations as well as international entities all over the world in the joint and separate implementation or realization of this and similar resolutions.

2 December 2018
Faculdade de Direito de Lisboa
Lisbon, Portugal

National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax no.920-6660
Email addresses: nupl2007@gmail.com and nuplphilippines@yahoo.com
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Visit the NUPL website at http://www.nupl.net/

“By calling yourselves the ‘people’s lawyer,’ you have made a remarkable choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights are assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for the dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on the battlefield live beyond irrelevance.”
– Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his message at the NUPL Founding Congress, September 15, 2007

“After long years of experience as a people’s lawyer, I can honestly say it has been a treasured journey of self-fulfillment and rewarding achievement. I know it will be the same for all others who choose to tread this path.”
– Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, NUPL founding chairperson, in his keynote address at the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in Asia Pacific ( COLAP V), September 18, 2010
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