MANILA - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno expressed outrage over the shooting and killing on Friday of the judge of the Zamboanga Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 14.
"I wish to express my deepest outrage over the killing of Judge Reynerio Estacio of Branch 14 of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City. I offer my sincerest condolences to his widow Teresita, and the other members of his family," Sereno said in a statement.
According to police, Estacio was driving on the way to the office when his vehicle was fired upon by motorcycle-riding suspects on Friday morning.
He sustained multiple gunshot wounds. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
Estacio's wife, Teresita, who was with him inside the vehicle, was unharmed.
Sereno said the Executive Judge of Zamboanga City, Judge Peter Eisma, has been instructed to closely monitor the investigation of the police and provide whatever assistance Estacio's family would need at this time.
"When lawless violence claims one of our own, it wounds us more grievously not only because we would be one good man less but also because the rule of law is diminished by the sheer force of arms," she said.
"Unfortunately, the judiciary has no resources to combat such lawless violence on our own and we have to rely on the efforts of the law enforcement officers to investigate and bring to justice those who have killed Judge Estacio. We will not, however, let the killing of Judge Estacio remain yet another statistic due to the judiciary's lack of investigative or law enforcement capacities; within the bounds of our resources, we will look into ways of protecting our judges and looking after their families," she added.
Sereno called on the law enforcement offices to "act swiftly" in its investigation into the case.
"We remember our brother judge Reynerio Estacio and thank his family for sharing him with the judiciary. We remember also our other brethren who have gone before him in the line of duty. May they be in the peace of our Creator," she said.