IBP resolution condemns brutal slay of lawyer

DUMAGUETE CITY, Sept. 30 (PNA) — The board of directors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Negros Oriental chapter has passed and approved a resolution expressing their shock and indignation against persons responsible for the brutal killing of Atty. Ramon Eduardo Elesteria in Bayawan City on Monday.

Resolution No. 2015-07 of the IBP Negros Oriental chapter, headed by Atty. Cyrus Riconalla, reiterates its condemnation to the brutal, dastardly and cowardly acts of shooting and killing members of the legal profession, the latest of whom is Atty Elesteria. Such acts have no proper place in the Philippine Society, especially in the province of Negros Oriental.

Unsolved killings of lawyers included that of Judge Orlando Velasco in 2007, Atty Eleazar Casipong, Atty Archer Baldwin Martinez, Atty Manolo Zerna and lately Atty Elesteria. Three of the lawyers were killed in Bayawan City, one in Dumaguete and one in Tanjay City.

The resolution further says, lawyers represent a system of securing due process to every individual, a profession that intends to eradicate violence and serve the ends of justice. Thus it is horrific that some of us become victims of violence.

Many of these crimes remained unsolved. Thus, the IBP-Negros Oriental chapter is urging the Philippine National Police in the province, headed by Sr. Supt. Dionardo Carlos, the Bayawan City police headed by Supt. Dominiciano Distrito Jr, and all concerned agencies of government to swiftly investigate these crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Likewise, it also calls on the public to cooperate in the investigation, stating that any information given will be crucial in stopping such vicious acts.

In lieu of this development, the IBP Negros Oriental chapter urged the public to join hands in seeking justice for all victims of shooting incidents in the province, through an indignation march and rally scheduled on Oct. 6, next week at the Aquino Freedom Park following a march to start from the Hall of Justice in Piapi at 5 p.m.

Initial investigations disclosed that the killing of Elesteria was properly planned and executed by two suspects who were in their 20s using Cal. 45 and 9 mm pistols. It could not yet be ascertained if there is truth to reports four others have acted as lookouts and back up.

According to Distrito Jr, the two suspects were seen in the vicinity of the hall of justice before the incident and he was hoping for witnesses to come out in the open.

The suspects did not cover their faces, wearing maong and khaki pants and medium built, walked out of the crime scene and fled on foot going to the highland.

Distrito could not confirm reports a police outpost was strafed with bullets by unidentified suspects on their withdrawal route.

A Regional Trial Court judge described Elesteria as lawyer who was very professional, still appearing in his court sala as counsel for drug suspects even if he headed the Public Attorneys Office (PAO).

RTC Branch 30 Judge Crescencio Tan Jr said Atty Elesteria was soft-spoken, never had a heated argument with prosecutors in his sala.

Tan sees no reason for mercilessly killing the 68-year old lawyer who handled few swertres and drugs cases in Dumaguete. He said it was not enough reasons for him to be killed.

“We are all worried and concerned about our own security, and that we are again exercising extra efforts in security while the executive judge has given instructions to tighten security at the Hall of Justice in Dumaguete, and that we should be careful in our movements,” he said. At present, no one is allowed at the Hall of Justice without proper identification and purpose. (PNA)