MANILA—The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday requested to get from a court a list of lawyers representing members of supposed "communist-terrorist" groups in the country, the Supreme Court said.
Supreme Court Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said the Calbayog Regional Trial Court received the request signed by a certain PLT Fernando Calabria Jr. from the Calbayog City Police Station, but "no action" has been done by the said court so far.
Calabria identified himself as the chief intel of their Station Drug Enforcement Unit (SDEU). The request was made "to the compliance from higher PNP offices."
The police also attached a table, which included a "mode of neutralization," and the lawyer's affiliations, among others.
Recently, Calbayog mayor Ronald Aquino was killed on Monday, an incident that left 6 people dead and described as a shootout by authorities.
Some have argued it was an ambush.
Aquino's ally, Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, had repeatedly alleged that the local chief executive was killed by rogue members of the national police.
Sarmiento said the police were wearing balaclavas and had high-powered firearms. The police have already formed a special investigation task group to probe the incident.
In a statement, the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) described the request as "audacious."
"This... request that is hard to refuse is the smoke in the gun traceable to the hand that pulled the trigger and the enablers of various attacks against lawyers especially human rights lawyers representing clients the State does not like," NUPL president Edre Olalia said.
Olalia added that it raised more questions about the incident, and floated the idea that the move is part of a bigger picture.
"It is at first unbelievable for its impudence but then again, it fits into the puzzle on the who, what, why and how of these attacks. The only remaining question is when and where," he said.
Aquino is the latest local official slain under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. His death has brought to 25 the tally of local executives killed in this administration.
On Sunday, 9 activists were also killed in alleged police raids in provinces south of Manila.
— With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News