Philippines: Group slams new slays of lawyers

Jun. 20, 2007

MANILA — The Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL, formerly the
Committee in Defense of Lawyers) today condemned the slay of Luis
Dote, a lawyer serving poor litigants, in Masbate City yesterday.

Dote, 46, was a lawyer connected with the Public Attorney’s Office.

Another lawyer, Demetrio Hilbero, 70, was shot dead in front of his
Calamba City house on Saturday.

In a statement, CODAL said “the killings of Dote and Hilbero show the
continuing threats to the legal profession. In the case of Dote, who
was a PAO lawyer, his murder deprives an innumerable number of poor
Filipinos access to the courts.”

“We urge the authorities to condemn the slays of these two lawyers and
to do everything to identify, arrest and prosecute the killers,” the
statement added.

CODAL also said that the group will raise the two incidents before the
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and

CODAL hosted the International Fact-Finding Mission on Attacks on
Filipino Lawyers in June 2006 which was participated in by lawyers and
judges from the Netherlands and Belgium.

The mission slammed the Arroyo government’s inability to stop the
slays of members of the legal profession and the continuing inability
to arrest and prosecute perpetrators. ###

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