SC panel to evaluate cases of attacks on lawyers, judges - Chief Justice Gesmundo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11) — The Supreme Court (SC) has assigned a committee to evaluate cases of killings and threats against lawyers and judges.

In his Meet the Press event, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said they received numerous records involving attacks on members of the judiciary.

"Kailangan himayin ito upang maunawaan namin at saka lamang kami makapagbibigay ng action [We have to carefully study this and only then can we take action]. We will act on the results of those reports and recommendation within the jurisdiction of the judiciary," Gesmundo added.

In March, the SC issued a rare statement condemning the killings of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors. Various groups, including lawyers' organizations, urged the high court to act and address the rising number of attacks.

More than 60 lawyers, judges, and prosecutors have been killed under the Duterte administration.

The SC then ordered lower courts, law enforcement agencies, and public interest groups to submit "relevant information to shed light on the number and context of each and every threat or killing of a lawyer or judge within the past 10 years."

Gesmundo said if the cases are outside the judiciary's jurisdiction, they would endorse the results to appropriate government institutions "for them to address these issues."

"Pero nasisiguro ko sa inyo na ang Korte Suprema ay tinatalakay ito," the chief magistrate vowed.

[Translation: But I assure you that the Supreme Court is discussing this.]

Red-tagging of Mandaluyong judge

Gesmundo said they are still coordinating with the Philippine National Police as to who were behind the tarpaulins displayed along EDSA red-tagging Mandaluyong Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio.

Ignacio cleared journalist Lady Ann Salem and trade unionist Rodrigo Esparago of charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The tarp had a message thanking Ignacio for the "speedy release" of Salem and Esparago. At the bottom is the logo of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

"In fact when we had a courtesy call from the former PNP chief, there are a number of matters that we took up with them. And hopefully, when we meet the new chief PNP also who requested for a courtesy call we can be updated," Gesmundo said.

Security arrangements have already been made for Ignacio, he added.