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IBP protests another lawyer ambush under Duterte administration

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has condemned the recent ambush against a lawyer in Quezon City.

The IBP said that many other lawyers, judges and court officers have been targeted with “pinpoint accuracy and swelling impunity,” which in turn creates “an environment of fear” in the justice system.

“Lawyers must be able to advocate their clients’ causes free from the corrupting elements of fear and intimidation. This ensures that disputes are resolved only within the confines of the law, the evidence, and an impartial tribunal,” the IBP said in a statement on Thursday.

“Hired killers and their masterminds have no place in civilized society. Regardless of the overwhelming merit a cause of action may present, violence directed against the actors in the legal theater must never be countenanced,” the group stressed.

Shortly after midnight Tuesday, lawyer Arjel Joseph Cabatbat survived an ambush by ramming his Mitsubishi Montero into his motorcycle-riding assailants.

Cabatbat and his companions namely Ardee Llaneras, Rodel Dela Cruz, and John Ramos were on board a black Montero with conduction sticker B1S951 and were traversing the EDSA northbound lane when they were fired upon by the suspects at the corner of East Avenue.

The victim then chased his attackers and managed to ram the two motorcycles with his SUV at the EDSA northbound lane near Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.

One of the three suspects identified as PO1 Mark Boquela Ayeras was killed in the incident. Another wounded suspect identified as John Paul Cerilo Napoles, 27, was taken to the East Avenue Medical Center, while the other suspect who was still unidentifed managed to escape.

In a related development, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director, Police Chief Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said that already filed of frustrated murder charges against the suspects in dawn ambush of lawyer.

Eleazar said based on the resolution of QC Assistant Prosecutor Marvelous Madamba, they would file four counts of frustrated murder and violation of RA 10591 (Illegal Possession of Firearms) against suspect Napoles who was presently confined at the East Avenue Medical Center.

The case against Ayeras was ordered dismissed considering the suspect was already deceased.

Ayeras entered the police service on July 1, 2010 and went AWOL or absent without official leave last August 10, 2017 while assigned with the Quezon City Police District Public Safety Battalion (DPSB) before his transfer to the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City, after he went AWOL but never reported for duty.

Eleazar said the QCPD is probing deeper into the case including the alleged death threats on the lawyer while the escaped gunman is now a subject of manhunt operations. (PNA)