Gunmen kill Manila prosecutor; DOJ vows justice

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 07 2020 01:00 PM | Updated as of Jul 07 2020 02:58 PM

Authorities respond to the shooting to death of Manila City chief inquest prosecutor Jovencio Senados Tuesday morning in Paco, Manila. ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Justice said Tuesday it would go after those responsible for the ambush of Manila chief inquest prosecutor Jovencio Senados.

Senados, 62, was gunned down along Quirino Highway corner Anakbayan Street in Paco, Manila at 11 a.m., Tuesday while on board his red car.

The perpetrators were aboard a black SUV, based on initial information from the Manila police.

"We condemn this to the highest level. We will avail all the resources of the DOJ to obtain justice," Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said in a statement shortly after the killing.

"We are shocked by the audacity of this attack," said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

"It highlights once again the grave peril that our prosecutors face each day in the discharge of their duties," he added.

Guevarra said he had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation "to immediately step in and investigate this horrible murder."

Aside from Senados, 49 other lawyers, prosecutors and judges were killed in attacks related to their work during President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, said National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia.

"Whatever the motive and whoever the perpetrators as should be credibly established, this is absolutely unacceptable in a supposed civilized and democratic society," the NUPL said in a statement. 

"The claims to 'peace and order' and purported 'rule of law' once again fly in the prevailing culture of violence and climate of impunity engendered by official hate speech and penchant for vindictiveness," it added.

A total of 248 human rights defenders, legal professionals, journalists and trade unionists were killed in the Philippines between 2015 and 2019, according to a recent report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights.