SC orders tighter security in local courts
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