Makabayan bloc, allies urge House panel to probe attack vs NUPL lawyer

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2021 07:17 PM

MANILA — Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc and 2 allies in the House of Representatives on Wednesday filed a House resolution seeking a legislative investigation into the brutal attack against volunteer lawyer Angelo Karlo Guillen.

Guillen, National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) Panay's secretary-general, was seriously wounded after two men wearing face masks stabbed him in the head with a screwdriver on March 3.

In their resolution, the Makabayan bloc and allies Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte called on the House Committee on Human Rights to pursue an investigation on the assault, which groups have claimed to be related to Guillen's involvement in the anti-terror law petitions and other human rights cases.

"Members of Congress, as representatives of the people, are duty-bound to ensure that laws that protect the people’s Constitutional rights, including lawyers, who are also defenders of the people, are respected and duly implemented... Congress should... lend its legislative hands and deflect the assault coming from the undemocratic elements of our society," they said. 

On Tuesday night, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate delivered a privilege speech at plenary condemning the attack.

"Hindi lang nakakagimbal, kundi mas nakakagalit ang naganap sa isa kong kapwa abogado, kasama at kaibigan na si Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen," Zarate said. 

(The incident that happened to fellow lawyer, colleague and friend Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen was not only shocking but upsetting.)

Zarate said the incident involving the NUPL official was part of a systematic assault that targets legal professionals. 

He noted a "pattern" of attacks, citing data from the Department of Justice that 54 lawyers have been killed, among them 8 judges and 10 prosecutors, since July 2016, the start of the Duterte administration.

Malacañang has condemned the attack and ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the incident.

Guillen survived the attack and is now on the road to recovery.

— Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News


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