A human rights lawyer was gunned down by still unidentified assailants in the southern Philippine town of Surallah in South Cotabato province on September 15.
Lawyer Juan Macababbad, vice chairperson of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao, was shot dead in front of his house by two gunmen.
He was the 58th lawyer and the third member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Macababbad was the legal counsel of indigenous tribesmen who were killed in Lake Sebu town in December 2018.
Leon Dulce, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment called for an “immediate independent investigation” into the killing of Macababbad.
Lawyer Antonio Azarcon, chairperson of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao, said the murder of Macababbad “is connected to his vocation of lawyering for the people.”
“The culture of impunity pervades with the lack of serious investigation and prosecution over thousands of extrajudicial killings in the country,” said Azarcon.
“Our colleagues have become main targets, especially those who resist tyranny and defend human rights,” he said.
In a statement, rights group Karapatan said attacks against people in the legal profession “should stop.”
“We call for accountability for those who are fostering this climate of impunity that has led to these killings and attacks against those who serve the poor and vulnerable communities,” the group said.