Harry Roque

Malacañang condemns stabbing of lawyer part of anti-terror law petition

Pia Ranada

LAWYER FOR ACTIVISTS. In this file photo, lawyer Angelo Guillen is arrested for assisting activists who were arrested by the police on May 1, 2020, during an attempt to hold a protest.

File photo courtesy of NUPL

President Rodrigo Duterte's office calls on the police and National Bureau of Investigation to find the attackers of lawyer AK Guillen

Malacañang condemned the stabbing of lawyer Angelo Karlo “AK” Guillen, saying it is an attack on the rule of law.

“We condemn that attack in the same manner that we condemn any attack that seeks to violate the right to life. We consider this attack on a lawyer as even more horrific since they are also attacking the rule of law,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday, March 4, in a press briefing.

The Palace called on the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation to find the people who stabbed Guillen.

Guillen is a lawyer in one of the dozens of petitions against the controversial anti-terror law, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed last July 2020, despite public fears that the measure would be used to stifle dissent and freedom of expression.

On Wednesday night, two unidentified culprits wearing masks tailed him then “mauled” him before stabbing him in the “left lower temple” with a screwdriver, according to police.

During Duterte’s presidency, attacks and killings of lawyers have steadily risen. Philippine lawyers have called for an impartial inquiry into the disturbing incidents.

In 2018, an international delegation of lawyers visited the Philippines to look at lawyer killings and concluded that there was a lack of genuine investigation into them. Policemen, the foreign lawyers said, were not conducting initial investigations, and prosecutors were left to wait for police reports that never came.

Since the start of Duterte’s presidency, only 5 cases of lawyer killings reached the courts out of the 54 murders in the legal profession, data from the Department of Justice (DOJ) showed. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.