Press Release
March 24, 2021

Keeping our lawyers safe and alive will help keep ordinary citizens safe and alive: Pangilinan

AS CO-EQUAL branches of government, Senate's support of the Supreme Court's position against the spread of threats and killings of lawyers and judges will help keep them safe and alive which in turn will help keep ordinary citizens safe and alive, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Wednesday.

"Gusto lang nating ligtas at buhay ang lahat, mapa-abogado man o huwes o karaniwang mamamayan. Makakatulong ang resolution ng Senado at ang statement ng Supreme Court para mangyari ito," he said.

"Pero mas makakatulong talaga, tulad ng sinabi sa resolution at sa Supreme Court statement, ang mahuli, mausig at mapakulong ang mga may sala," he added.

In practical terms, Pangilinan, whose Senate Bill 427 is still pending at the committee level, pushed anew for the use of body cameras by the police in law enforcement operations.

"Immediately, pwede nang ipatupad ito dahil may budget na rin itong body cam para sa mga pulis. Una, maiiwasan ang pang-aabuso. Pangalawa, masisiguro ang karapatan ng mga suspect at ang due process. Pangatlo, ebidensya ang video sa totoong nangyari sa mga raid," said Pangilinan.

According to news reports, the Philippine National Police has already procured 2,600 body cameras with a budget of 287 million pesos. The units will be issued to police personnel after passing the tests done on October 12, 2020.

Led by Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Pangilinan and six other lawyer-senators on Wednesday filed Proposed Senate Resolution 691 strongly condemning the killings and acts of violence against judges, prosecutors, and lawyers, and urging the President to ensure the safety of the members of the legal profession.

In a rare move by the judiciary, the high tribunal on Tuesday moved to investigate the red-tagging of Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 209 Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio.

Pangilinan was among the UP College of Law alumni who signed a public petition early this March calling the Supreme Court's attention to "the deeply disturbing action widely reported in the media that the Philippine National Police has asked trial courts to compile a list of "lawyers who represents [sic] Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) personalities."

The Supreme Court also designated its Public Information Office to receive and collect data on threats to those in the legal profession, and to start deliberations on the use of body-cameras for the service of search and arrest warrants, among others.

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