Prosecutors and employees at the Office of the City Prosecutors on Friday denounced the killing of Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Jovencio Senados and called on authorities to identify and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The killing of Chief Senados is not only an assault to a hardworking, brilliant & dedicated public servant who devoted decades of his life to public service but also an assault to the rule of law,” the Prosecutors’ League of Manila said in a statement.
The 62-year old Senados was shot dead in Paco, Manila on Tuesday, July 7. He was the sixth lawyer to be killed in 2020, which started with the killing of former congressman and lawyer Edgar Mendoza in January.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the ambush-slaying of Senados.
“This attack against a prosecutor, as all previous senseless killings of prosecutors, judges, and lawyers, is an attack against the entire legal profession,” the statement said, even as they described the killing as “despicable and cowardly act of murder.”
Guevarra said he is confident that the ambush-slay of Senados will be solved soon.
According to him, the 62-year-old official may have handled “hazardous” cases in his “many years” in the service.
“Prosecutor Senados had been in the prosecution service for many years. As chief of the inquest division of OCP (Office of the City Prosecutor) Manila, he had probably handled hazardous cases that had placed his personal security at great risk,” he said.
According to the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, some 50 lawyers, prosecutors, and judges have been killed since 2016.
Meanwhile, Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles on Friday also assailed the killing of Senados and reiterated the need for the creation of a special task force composed of the Justice Department, the Philippine National Police, the Commission on Human Rights, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to address the killings.
“I urge the authorities to exhaust all means to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. We cannot allow violence to be inflicted on lawyers, particularly those in the judiciary and prosecution service, with impunity” said Nograles, vice chairman of the House Committee on Justice.
Last year, Nograles filed House Resolution 185 calling for an inquiry into the killings of law practitioners. HR185 also urges the creation by the DOJ and PNP, in close coordination with the CHR and IBP, of a special task force that would enforce legal action to bring those accountable for the deaths to justice.
Nograles said the murder of lawyers, prosecutors, and judges has a chilling effect on the proper dispensation of justice. “Failure to protect law practitioners will discourage the people from obtaining justice,” he said.
“If defenders of the law can be killed by powerful entities, what is there left for the common man?,” he asked.
He added that the government cannot allow such thinking to prevail. “We need immediate action and results to assure our people that they can seek redress in our legal system without fear of reprisal.”
The lawyers killed this year include Mendoza, Raymond Moncada, and Anselmo Carlos in January; Bureau of Corrections Legal Division Chief Fredric Santos, and Bayani Dalangin in February and Senados a few days ago.
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