Defense lawyer in Bohol kidnapping trial survives attempted ambush

CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Lawyer Innocencio dela Cerna was ambushed outside of the Cebu City Hall of Justice after attending a hearing at around 9 am on Monday, September 2.

According to a report in Cebu Daily News, Dela Cerna was shot multiple times near the exit of the court by men on motorcycles, but was able to drive his car to the police station and survive the attack.

He recently represented Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel in the kidnapping and serious illegal detention case filed by Angela Leyson, the best friend of Gisela Boniel, Niño's missing wife and the former mayor of Bien Unido, Bohol.

It is not yet confirmed if the attack was related to this case.

Rappler reached out to the Cebu City Police Office for more details, but has not yet received a response as of publishing time.

IBP condemns shooting

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines of Cebu condemned the attempted ambush in a statement published on Facebook.


IBP-Cebu "condemns in the strongest terms the attempted killing of Attorney Innocencio dela Cerna," the statement said.

"This latest attack directed to a lawyer in the person of Atty. Dela Cerna is not only an attack against the life of an officer of the court, but is also an assault to the rule of law," it added.

The IBP said this latest attack adds to the list of "numerous unsolved cases of killings and attempted killings in Cebu and in the whole country perpetrated by motorcycle-riding assassins who remain unidentified."

They called on police to "immediately solve this ambush and swiftly bring perpetrators to justice."

Dela Cerna is the second lawyer ambushed in the Central Visayas in the span of 3 months. Anthony Trinidad was killed in an ambush last July 24 in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.