Kerwin Espinosa’s lawyer killed in ambush near Cebu City courthouse

Rambo Talabong, Mars W. Mosqueda Jr.

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Kerwin Espinosa’s lawyer killed in ambush near Cebu City courthouse
Gunmen spray bullets at the car of Jonah John Ungab, lawyer of the suspected drug lord

CEBU CITY – Unidentified gunmen opened fire at the vehicle of Jonah John Ungab, lawyer of suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, along S. Osmena Street, Cebu City, at noon Monday, February 19.

Ungab, who is also incumbent vice mayor of Ronda town in Cebu, was aboard his vehicle after attending a court hearing at the Cebu City Hall of Justice for a case against Espinosa past 12 noon when he was ambushed.

According to the police spot report of the attack obtained by Rappler, Ungab’s wife was also aboard the car when the incident happened. 

Cebu City police chief Senior Superintendent Joel Doria said Ungab was brought to the Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue City, where he died around 2 pm.

SPO1 Winston Ybañes, of the Cebu City Police Office Homicide Investigation, said two unidentified suspects riding a Mio motorcycle shot Ungab in the nape.

Ungab represented Espinosa in court for a Comelec gun ban case against the suspected drug lord. In that hearing, Espinosa was acquited of the charge of illegal possession of firearms.

KILLED. Doctors declare Ungab dead over an after he was brought to the hospital. Photo from Ungab’s Facebook page

Before the shooting, Ungab answered questions from the media, saying Espinosa was acquitted because the firearms seized from him were all licensed. –


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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.