SC orders tighter security in local courts

5 security guards have been suspended following the shooting

Purple Romero
Updated 4:15 PM, Jan 24, 2013

TIGHTEN SECURITY MEASURES. The Supreme Court said local courts should have stricter measures to prevent another shooting spree similar to what happened on January 22, where 3 people were killed in a Cebu courtroom.TIGHTEN SECURITY MEASURES. The Supreme Court said local courts should have stricter measures to prevent another shooting spree similar to what happened on January 22, where 3 people were killed in a Cebu courtroom.

MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno ordered stricter security measures in local courts following the January 22 shooting in the Cebu City Municipal Trial Court that killed 3 people, including the gunman, and wounded a prosecutor.

In a statement dated January 23, Sereno also asked authorities to "double their efforts" in investigating the incident.

Canadian national John Pope opened fire at the courtroom of Branch 2, which was presided over by Judge Anatalio Necesario, and shot Dr. Reynold Rafols and lawyer Jubian Achas. Pope also shot prosecutor Maria Teresa Casiño, who survived the attack.

Pope - who faced a case of malicious mischief - later shot himself.

Sereno sent court administrator Jose Midas Marquez to Cebu on January 22. Marquez ordered the suspension of proceedings in the courtroom until the investigation is done.

Even as security agents said they frisked all people who went inside the Chief Justice Fernan Palace, Pope was able to bring to the courtroom a .45 caliber pistol and a .357 revolver.

Five security guards have been suspended following the shooting.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines has also formed a task force that will look into and monitor similar incidents.

The task force - to be called the Justice League - will be composed of the IBP, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Bureau of Investigation, Commission on Human Rights and the Philippine National Police.

The IBP said other cases of violence against prosecutors and lawyers have to be resolved. These include the strafing of two law offices. - Rappler.com

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