MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Sunday denounced the recent killing of a lawyer in Nueva Ecija and called for the "immediate passage" of a measure increasing penalty for crimes committed against justices and members of the legal profession.
Bayani Dalangin, 73, was the latest victim in a spate of killings against lawyers. He was gunned down Friday evening in his office in Talavera town, Nueva Ecija.
At least 41 lawyers and prosecutors were killed in the Philippines between July 2016 and September 5, 2019, international group Lawyer for Lawyers earlier said.
The CHR expressed support for the passage of Senate Bill 1721 filed by detained Sen. Leila de Lima in the 17th Congress, which remains pending at the committee level.
A measure creating a Philippine marshals system for judges was also filed at the House of Representatives.
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia urged the police to "carry out swift and full investigation" on the slay of Dalangin, and called on government to provide adequate protection measures to lawyers as it flagged the "increasing number of violent attacks."
"These grave threats and attacks impair the ability of lawyers and other members of the justice sector to provide effective legal representation and hamper them to freely exercise their profession," De Guia said in a statement.
"Lawyers working on sensitive and high-profile cases face reprisals and are constantly wary of their safety and independence. Regrettably, the worsening impunity in the country continues to undermine the proper functioning of the rule of law including the right of people to remedies and fair trial," she added.