Lawyers stage indignation rally in Dumaguete City, slam ‘culture of impunity’

DUMAGUETE CITY, Oct. 6 (PNA) – Some 300 judges, prosecutors, lawyers and law students staged a protest march and indignation rally in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, late Tuesday to call for the swift resolution of the murder of Atty. Ramon Eduardo Elesteria a week ago.

The protest action was spearheaded by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Negros Oriental chapter, headed by its president, Atty. Cyrus Riconalla, and was joined by law students of Silliman University, Foundation University and the Negros Oriental State University.

The activity started with a march beginning from the Hall of Justice in Piapi and ending at the Ninoy Aquino Freedom Park stage, where the indignation rally was held in the early evening of Tuesday.

The protesters carried placards that sought justice for the slain lawyer, Eduardo Elesteria, as well as other previously unsolved murders of other judges and lawyers, and to include other shooting incidents of civilians that have not been solved to date.

Other placards called for a stop of the senseless killings and sought justice for the deaths of lawyers Archer Martinez, Eliezer Casipong and Manalo Zerna and Judge Orlando Velasco.

Elesteria, 68, was fatally shot at close range a week ago today in broad daylight just as he was leaving the courthouse in Barangay Cabcabon, Bayawan City in south Negros Oriental.

He died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds fired from Caliber .45 and 9-mm handguns, the police had reported.

Police investigation did not immediately say the motive for the killing of the lawyer, who hails from Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental.

Elesteria was a former head of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) here.

During the indignation rally, family members of the slain Elesteria led in the lighting of candles and placing them in front of the posters and placards as well as offering flowers.

The IBP local chapter has also expressed its concern over what they describe as a culture of impunity now prevailing in Dumaguete City and in the province of Negros Oriental.

The lawyers slammed the perpetrators of these shooting incidents as no longer having respect for human life, pointing out that if they, who are the ones who uphold and protect the law, are not even spared from these barbaric attacks of the violators of the law, how much more those that do not have any capacity to arm or protect themselves.

The last time a similar indignation rally was held was in 2007, or eight years ago, after lawyer Archer Baldwin Martinez was shot in cold blood in a daytime attack at his office in downtown Dumaguete City.

The case remains unsolved to date, as well as many other shooting incidents. (PNA)