The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it would investigate the killing of Cebu City lawyer Rex Fernandez.
“CHR decries the brazen assault against a person’s right to life. No reason can ever justify any act that will arbitrarily deprive a person of their life,” CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia said.
“We have also seen numerous assaults against lawyers. It is tragic that those too in the legal profession have fallen victims to injustices and human rights violations that they have sworn to fight,” she added.
The lawyer was shot dead inside his own car in Cebu City on Thursday.
Fernandez died on the spot while his driver sustained gunshot wounds after being shot in Barangay Guadalupe past 5 p.m.
The driver has been treated in the hospital.
According to witnesses, the suspect was wearing a bonnet and immediately fled aboard a motorcycle.
Police retrieved six gun shells from the crime scene.
CHR to probe killing of Cebu lawyer Rex Fernandez
Rex Fernandez earlier joined a hunger strike against the management of his compound in Mandaue after his water supply was cut off.
Meanwhile, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) expressed alarm over the killing.
“No words, indeed. Another colleague has fallen with his boots on. We had lost count. It has not stopped, and every lawyer is a sitting duck,” NUPL President Edre Olalia said.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines said that killings of lawyers increased by 500% during President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
“Rex was a founding member of NUPL in 2007. He was also Karapatan counsel for years. He was passionate, intense, and brave, even as he was unique in many ways,” Olalia said.
“Before he was silenced, he castigated the present administration which he had hitherto placed his sincere hope on would bring change. He died disillusioned that it was not meant to be. Rest in peace already Rex. You fought a good fight,” he added.