The 50,000-strong Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) condemned on Sunday the killing of Butuan Regional Trial Court Judge Godofredo B. Abul Jr. He was the second judge murdered in Caraga Region this year.
“The IBP sees the killing of Judge Abul as a stain against the Rule of Law. We view all judges as members of our profession-one that is sworn to protect everyone’s right to life, liberty and property. Any life-be it innocent or guilty-does not deserve to be taken away so lightly by unaccountable assassins,” the IBP said in a statement through its national president Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo.
“Summary and violent death sentences administered by unknown individuals is no substitute for a working judicial system,” the group lamented.
The IBP likewise, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) should rise to the challenge and solve the case immediately amid the mounting unresolved deaths in the country.
“We are committed to upholding the judicial process and work against those who applaud its erosion. We call on our law enforcement authorities to take all necessary steps to ensure that the killers and their principals are found so that they may be brought to justice,” it added.
Abul Jr., 68, of Regional Trial Court, Brach 4, and his wife Bernadeth, 65, were about to leave their residence onboard their sports utility vehicle (SUV) when a lone gunman came up to their garage and shot them at around 10 a.m on Saturday.
Adul died on-the-spot after the suspect peppered him with shots in different parts of his body while his wife was injured.
After the attack, the suspect sped away on a motorcycle.
Chief Supt. Rolando B. Felix, Caraga police director has formed a task force that will conduct a speedy investigation on the murder of Abul, who was handling some sensitive cases, particularly on illegal drugs.
The killing of Judge Abul was the third gun attacks against RTC judges in Caraga.
Judge Victor A. Cano, who retired as presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 29 in Surigao City was gunned down by motorcycle-riding gunmen last February 2, 2017.
In September 23, 2016, Judge Hector Salise, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Bayugan, Agusan Del Sur, was ambushed together with his police escort along the Butuan Highway but survived the slay try.
Meanwhile, the wounded wife of Judge Abul has been transferred to a private hospital from the city government-run Butuan Medical Center due facility and medicine issues and is reportedly undergoing operation.
At the private hospital where media are not allowed but some allowed to enter by cops, Bernadita or Nadit as she is fondly called by friends was already out of danger by hospital authorities.
Chief Inspector Ephraim Detuya, commander of Butuan City Police Station (BCPS-4) , claimed authorities now have a lead in the brutal killing but refused to give details for security reasons.
Detuya said he slain judge, who celebrated his 68th birthday last August 1 had just arrived from Cebu after a long vacation.
Detuya claimed Judge Abul was set to assume workby September this year after reportedly the Supreme Court suspended him for six months on February 28, 2017 due to extortion allegations over illegal drugs case filed against him.
Abul vehemently denied the accusation and when still alive, according to his close relatives have not received allegedly the Supreme Court order, and out delecadiza instead, filed long vacation leave from his sala.
Right his reported suspension , the News Courier tried to reach Judge Abul for his side and comment but to no avail. By Ben Serrano and CLC