Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. VI, No. 17      June 16, 2006      Quezon City, Philippines











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Euro Lawyers to Probe Attacks on Filipino Lawyers 

Posted 4:10 pm June 16, 2006

The killings and harassment against Filipino lawyers have caught the attention of their counterparts in Europe. Two judges and five lawyers from Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Antwerp, Belgium arrived in the country June 15 to participate in a four-day International Fact-Finding Mission on Attacks Against Filipino Lawyers (IFFM-AAFL).   The mission will be from June 16-19.

It will investigate the killings of Judge Henrick Guingoyon in Cavite, lawyers Norman Bocar in Samar, Fedelito Dacut in Leyte, Arbet Yongco in Cebu City, and Juvy Magsino in Oriental Mondoro. It will also look into cases of harassment against lawyers Jobert Pahilga, Ernesto Peñaflor, Gina Co, Kit Enriquez, Tonyboy Azarcon, Pergentino Deri-on Jr., Charles Juloya and Justice Romeo Capulong.

Judge Jan Bless, head of the delegation, said they went here to “find the reasons behind the killings.”

Filipino lawyers led by Jose Cadiz, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), said the mission is part of a campaign to stop attacks on people in the legal profession. “The tragedy of this all is that lawyers, who are supposed to represent victims of injustice, are now victims of violence,” he said. This situation, he said, makes it more impossible for the victims to get justice at all.

The mission members are set to leave for Tacloban tomorrow, June 17, to interview the families of victims from Visayas and Mindanao and will go back to Manila on June 18 to interview families of victims from Luzon. They are scheduled to meet with officials of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Justice on Monday, June 19.

The group of defenders is expected to present the mission findings on Tuesday, June 20 at a press conference in Quezon City. Organized by the Netherlands-based Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation, this activity is hosted by the Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL), a Filipino lawyers’ group initially formed as a response to the spate of killings and harassments of lawyers and judges in the Philippines. CODAL eventually expanded its mandate to include the promotion and defense of civil liberties. Bulatlat 




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