Senate of the Philippines

Senate condemns ‘horrific attacks’ vs lawyers

Mara Cepeda

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Senate condemns ‘horrific attacks’ vs lawyers

IN SESSION. Senators attend the plenary session on July 27, 2020.

File photo by Henzberg Austria/Senate PRIB

(UPDATED) The Senate asks President Rodrigo Duterte to 'undertake the necessary steps' to protect members of the legal profession

The Senate on Wedneday, March 24, adopted a resolution denouncing the “horrific” and “brazen” attacks against members of the legal profession under President Rodrigo Duterte.

On Wednesday, March 24, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon led 7 other lawyer-senators in filing Proposed Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 691, which not only condemns the killings but urges the President to protect his colleagues in the profession. Duterte himself was a lawyer and prosecutor.

The resolution was adopted by the entire Senate during the plenary session. All senators were made co-authors of PSR 691 after the chamber adopted it.

The other senators who co-authored PSR No. 691 include:

  • Sonny Angara
  • Pia Cayetano
  • Leila de Lima
  • Richard Gordon
  • Francis Pangilinan
  • Aquilino Pimentel III
  • Francis Tolentino

Angara, Cayetano, Gordon, Pimentel, and Tolentino are all part of the Senate majority bloc allied with Duterte, while Drilon, De Lima, and Pangilinan are minority senators.

The senators said the “brazen acts of violence” send a “chilling message” to members of the legal profession who should be able to perform their duty to uphold the rule of law free from any threats or persecution.

“The continuing flagrant and horrific attacks on the lawyers, prosecutors, and judges and the failure to condemn, investigate, and prosecute these acts of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice is an act of injustice in itself and erode the public’s trust and confidence in our justice system,” said the senators.

Through the resolution, the senators are expressing their sense to “strongly condemn the killings of and acts of violence” against lawyers.

The resolution wants the Senate to “strongly condemn the killings of and acts of violence” against lawyers.

The senators are also asking Duterte to “undertake the necessary steps in ensuring the safety of the members of the legal profession by laying out definitive solutions and actions to address such rampant violence and killings, including the prompt, impartial, and efficient investigation and prosecution of the cases.”

PSR No. 691 was filed the resolution a day after the Supreme Court issued a rare statement condemning the increasing attacks on lawyers, prosecutors, and judges.

Based on the last consolidated data, there have been 61 lawyers, judges, and prosecutors killed in the last 5 years of the Duterte administration. In stark contrast, 49 lawyers, judges, and prosecutors were killed in a span of 44 years under the presidencies of Ferdinand Marcos to Benigno Aquino III.

Duterte has remained silent despite the spate of attacks and killings of his colleagues in the legal profession.

“This horrendous pattern of taking lives and violence, impunity, lack of accountability, and apathy are symptoms of a government ran by rule of men and not by rule of law,” said Drilon in his sponsorship speech for the resolution. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.