CEBU CITY— The Cebu City Police Office said Friday it would create a special investigation task group (SITG) to look into the killing of human rights lawyer Rex Fernandez.
"The shooting of Atty. Fernandez falls under the parameters of an SITG. I have already told the station commander to form 'SITG Fernandez,'" city police chief Police Col. Josefino Ligan said in a press conference.
The human rights lawyer was ambushed by a lone gunman while aboard his car on R. Duterte St. in Barangay Guadalupe in Cebu on Thursday afternoon. Fernandez' driver survived the attack.
Fernandez is the 57th on the list of lawyers and judges killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers.
Police have recovered 6 empty shells from a .45 caliber pistol in the crime scene. They said Fernandez sustained a gunshot wound to the face.
Because the attack was caught on a nearby security camera, Ligan said it would be instrumental in the police investigation.
“He (gunman) is definitely a gun-for-hire. Did not even conceal himself except for a facemask and did the crime in a populated area,” the city police chief said.
Before the incident, Fernandez staged a hunger strike following a disagreement with the management of his condominium in Mandaue City. The management allegedly cut off his water supply despite an injunction issued by the court.
Several lawyers' groups have condemned the attack, saying killings of lawyers have not stopped even while there is a pandemic.
In less than a year, 3 lawyers have been killed in Cebu.
In November, lawyer Joey Luis Wee was gunned down outside his office in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City.
A month later, lawyer Baby Maria Concepcion Landero-Ole was shot dead in Danao City, Cebu.
— With a report from Annie Perez