Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has bewailed the killing of another lawyer by unidentified gunmen in Cebu last Dec. 17, whose death adds to the long list of legal professionals killed under the Duterte regime.
De Lima, a lawyer herself and a known human rights defender here and abroad, said the culture of violence and killings propagated by Mr. Duterte should stop now.
“I vehemently condemn the killing yesterday of another lawyer, Atty. Ma. Concepcion Landero-Ole, in Danao, Cebu,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1001.
“The culture of killings and disregard for human life as sown by the Duterte regime continues to reap its grim toll almost daily, further desensitizing us to what in any civilized society should be an abominable and monstrous state of affairs that cannot simply be allowed to continue,” she added.
Based on media reports, Landero-Ole was shot dead by unidentified gunmen as she was driving her pick-up truck along a Danao City highway in Cebu.
As confirmed by the police, Landero-Ole was taken to the hospital by emergency responders, but was declared dead on arrival.
Landero-Ole is the second lawyer killed in Cebu within the span of a month. She is the 54th judge, lawyer, or prosecutor killed since Duterte assumed presidency in 2016.
De Lima said that the unabated killings happening in the country on top of Duterte’s incompetent and negligent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic only shows “that spreading death is the only core competence of this regime.”
“It kills both by negligence and by intention simply because it does not care for the human lives lost in what has become for the Philippines a way of death instead of a way of life,” she said.
Last Dec. 15, less than a week before the killing of Landero-Ole, a doctor who was red-tagged and her husband were killed by unknown motorcycle-riding gunmen in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
Identified as Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and Edwin, they were shot dead at Brgy. (village) Poblacion in Guihulngan City.
“Kailan titigil ang mga pagpatay sa ilalim ng rehimeng ito? Anong klase ng lipunan at gobyerno ang sa gitna ng krisis ay walang habas ang dahas at pamamaslang sa mga abogado, aktibista, tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao, at mga maralita?”, De Lima said in a separate statement.
Since 2017, De Lima has called for independent inquiries on the killings of lawyers. In the 18th Congress, she also filed Senate Bill No. 780, which seeks to amend Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to add, as an aggravating circumstance, the crime committed against lawyers and justice sector officials, and to increase penalties for killings of legal professionals. (30)