Courts urged to tighten security, after assault on prosecutor

(UPDATED) Onofre Surat Jr, who was being tried for kidnapping for ransom with homicide, assaults Fadullon after a guilty verdict is handed down by a Quezon City court

ASSAULT. Senior deputy state prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon was assaulted by a convicted kidnapper, leaving him with a minor bruise in the neck. Photo from DOJ Office of the Regional Prosecutor, Region I website

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Following the assault on senior deputy state prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, the country’s chief state prosecutor and the Supreme Court’s court administrator have called for stricter security measures inside Philippine courts. 

“We urge courts to tighten security measures in the courtroom during sessions to ensure the safety of the public including prosecutors and judges,” said Chief State Prosecutor Claro Arellano.

Onofre Surat Jr, who was being tried for kidnapping for ransom with homicide, assaulted Fadullon after a guilty verdict was handed down by a Quezon City court. The incident occurred Thursday, February 27, after Surat was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.   

Fadullon heads the justice department’s team of prosecutors handling the rebellion and human rights violation charges against Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari, his commander Habier Malik, and 59 others in connection with the Zamboanga siege.

In the Ampatuan massacre case that involved the death of 58, including 32 journalists in Maguindanao, Fadullon served as chief prosecutor during the first few years.

“The recent assault on prosecutor Dong Fadullon who was attending a promulgation in court, shows some laxity of security by court personnel and injury could have been avoided,” said Arellano.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno also said she was deeply concerned about what happened to Fadullon inside the court premises. She is said to be relieved no one was seriously hurt and is awaiting a full report on the incident from the executive judge.

Sereno said she will take appropriate actions based on her appreciation of the recommendations of the executive judge.

Arellano added the incident is “among the risks that  prosecutors face in the performance of their duties.”

SC Court Administrator Midas Marquez has already requested for a report on the incident.

“There are security protocols in place. I am almost certain that untoward incidents like these could have been avoided if the security protocols were strictly followed…let me reiterate to all our judges and court personnel the strict observance of our security protocols,” Marquez said. –

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