CEBU, Philippines – The New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) has condemned the attempted assassination of Cebu Port Authority lawyer Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales.
“The New York City Bar Association joins the international community in condemning the attempted assassination of Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales and fears that it may be a harbinger of things to come,” the NYCBA said in a statement.
“As the CHR’s reference to ‘the continuing violence against legal professionals’ indicates, the recent attempt on the life of Quiñanola-Gonzales is by no means an isolated instance,” it added, noting the number of killings of members of the legal profession in the country during the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.
Gonzales and her son, Keith Gonzales, were driving near Hernan Cortes Street in Barangay Tipolo when they were ambushed by motorcycle-riding men.
Mandaue City police have identified the gunman behind the attack as 42-year-old swimming instructor Richard Basalo Delibo.
Lieutenant Colonel Franco Rudolf Oriol, deputy city director for operations of the Mandaue City Police Office, said they filed a complaint for two counts of frustrated murder against Delibo with the City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, September 16.
Delibo’s background hints at a personal grudge against the lawyer, who counseled for people who had accused him of estafa.
The lawyers’ group also noted the Philippines’ record as “the most dangerous country in the world for legal professionals.”
“The attempted assassination of Quiñanola-Gonzales has now dashed any hope that the new Philippine administration would bring with it an end to the international scandal of dozens of murderous assaults on judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and paralegals throughout the country,” NYCBA said.
“The City Bar calls on the new Philippine administration to bring to justice all responsible for the assault on Quiñanola-Gonzales and her son, and, going forward, to take all measures necessary to ensure that legal professionals are able to fulfill their professional obligations safely and without impediment,” it added.
Since 2020, three lawyers have been killed in Cebu.
Maria Conception Landero-Ole was killed while driving on Danao City’s highway in December 2020.
In November 2020, lawyer Joey Luis Wee died as he was being rushed to the hospital after being shot by unidentified assailants.
A guman killed human rights lawyer Rex Fernandez at a busy intersection of the city in August 2021.