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Increasing lawyer killings a cause for alarm

A press statement by Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on the killing of Begtang
July 24, 2021

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) condemns the brazen and shocking murder of Deputy City Prosecutor Victor Begtang Jr. in the afternoon of June 23, 2021 right inside the comfort of his home in Conner, Apayao. Prosecutor Begtang is the ninth prosecutor to be killed during this administration.

With the recent killing of Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie in Davao City on July 14, 2021, this now makes the death toll of lawyers killed during this administration at 63.

The IBP extends its deepest condolences to the family, relatives, and friends of Prosecutor Begtang and will endeavor to immediately process the release of the IBP benefits due to his heirs. It will likewise assist in, and monitor the investigation and prosecution of his case so that the perpetrators can be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The IBP grieves and is appalled by the increasing and sheer number of assassinations of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors with impunity.

In stark contrast, the number of lawyers killed during the previous administrations stretching way back to 1972 was no less than 10 for each administration, with one administration even having no lawyer death ever recorded. Indeed, the numbers, as these now stand under the present administration, have alarmingly increased by as much as 500%.

As such, the IBP will continue to work with the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to address and arrest these rising attacks against its members just as it calls upon our police and investigative agencies to formulate and implement specific measures to improve the security of lawyers, judges and prosecutors and to expeditiously resolve its investigations on these killings so that the perpetrators are swiftly and truly held accountable.