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PIA Press Release

Ilocos Norte lawyers' group pushes red button on killings

by Cristina Arzadon

Laoag City (22 June) -- Lawyers in the province have pushed the alarm bells on the rising number of killings that have victimized a cross section of the community from lawyers, media practitioners and the church.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Ilocos Norte chapter sat down on Friday (June 19) with representatives from the Philippine National Police, officials of various media organizations, the church sector including families of murdered victims to plan an indignation rally that would focus on the rising number of brutal executions.

Lawyer Richard Tumaneng, IBP president, told the groups that the recent assassination of young lawyer Eddie Gregorio earlier this month has pushed the IBP to take action on the series of killings in the community.

"We wish to put a stop to these killings by involving the community in preventing crimes from happening," he said.

The protest rally will be staged before the burial of Gregorio whose remains have been transferred to the family's house in Piddig town. His family has yet to finalize burial plans.

"The rally will bring to light the need for the community to be aware of the cause and effect of brutal killings and caution them on what needs to be done when another incident may again present itself," Tumaneng added.

Pol. Supt. Sterling Blanco, Laoag City police chief, had noted that Gregorio's murder would have been prevented had residents in the village where he lives been more vigilant.

Blanco said that before the killing, residents were alleged to have seen suspicious-looking individuals casing Gregorio's apartment but that they failed to notify the police or even village officials of such sightings.

Gregorio was the eight lawyer felled by assassins' bullets in 11 years. He was also the latest victim of brutal execution in Ilocos Norte that included lawyers Jose Pastor and Patrocinio Aurelio, Judge Ariston Rubio, broadcaster Roger Mariano and Catholic priest Florante Rigonan. (PIA) [top]

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