lawyer killings in the Philippines

Malacañang honors slain lawyer Alzate as ‘fearless and steadfast’

Michelle Abad

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Malacañang honors slain lawyer Alzate as ‘fearless and steadfast’

IN MEMORIAM. Lawyers, women's groups and human rights defenders from the National Union of People's Lawyers, stage a protest ang light candles at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City on September 15, 2023 in honor of Atty. Ma. Saniata Liwliwa Alzate, who was murdered in Abra province on September 14.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

Malacañang vows law enforcement agencies would work 'relentlessly' to bring justice for lawyer Maria Saniata Liwliwa Gonzales Alzate, who was gunned down outside her house in Abra

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang paid tribute to slain lawyer Maria Saniata Liwliwa Gonzalez Alzate as “fearless and steadfast,” mourning her loss as a “tragedy” to Abra.

In a statement on Saturday, September 16, two days after Alzate was gunned down outside her home in Abra, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin expressed the sympathies of the Office of the President over the lawyer’s death.

“We are one with the family of Atty. Maria Saniata Liwliwa Gonzales Alzate in this time of grief, and we offer them our most sincere and heartfelt condolences,” said Bersamin.

“She was a fearless and steadfast lawyer, principled in her practice of law and unrelenting in her pursuit of justice. She worked tirelessly both as a public interest lawyer and as a commissioner of bar discipline. Her death is a tragedy as well for the good province of Abra and for the legal profession,” he added.

Malacañang vowed that law enforcement agencies would work “relentlessly” to bring justice to her death and hold accountable those responsible.

The Palace added that hot pursuit operations were ongoing. “We call upon our citizens to remain vigilant,” said Bersamin.

Alzate was shot dead in broad daylight in Bangued, Abra, on Thursday, September 14. Police said that the lawyer was inside her car parked in front of her house when two unidentified gunmen shot her. Closed-circuit television footage showed the gunmen firing multiple shots from the driver’s seat window at close range.

After shooting Alzate, the assailants fled on their motorcycles.

The victim was brought to Dr. Petronilo V. Seares Sr. Memorial Hospital, but died around 5:05 pm, said Abra provincial police public information office chief Captain Ronaldo Eslabra.

Eslabra said that the police had no records of Alzate raising any concerns or threats.

The Department of Justice and lawyers’ groups condemned Alzate’s “heinous killing.”

Alzate was the third lawyer killed under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., according to a tally by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers. – with reports from Jairo Bolledo/

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.