38 Lawyers killed since President Duterte took office

Features Philippines Mar 22, 2019 at 3:37 pm
Rex Jasper Lopoz. © Facebook/Rex Jasper Lopoz

Rex Jasper Lopoz. © Facebook/Rex Jasper Lopoz

By Carlos H. Conde
HRW.org

Another lawyer has been murdered in the Philippines, the 38th to have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016. The media reported that unidentified gunmen shot dead Rex Jasper Lopoz, 41, as he was about to enter his car outside a shopping mall in Tagum City, in the southern Philippines, on Wednesday evening.

Lopoz’s family believes he was killed because he was representing defendants in drug cases, and that his murder was linked to the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs,” in which thousands have died. Lopoz was also known in the area as a leftist activist.

Lopoz’s murder has been widely condemned – the Integrated Bar of the Philippines said there have been so many deaths “we are almost losing count.” Like Lopoz, several of the victims were lawyers representing the accused in drug cases. Some, like Benjamin Ramos, who was shot dead in November in the central Philippines, represented victims of government human rights violations. Judges have also been targeted.

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