Justice chief rebuts foreign Duterte critics

March 19, 2019
Menardo Guevarra

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday took exception to the report by a delegation of foreign lawyers blaming the Duterte administration for the killings of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers in the country in the last three years.

Guevarra described the preliminary findings of the group as “preposterous and reckless.”

“With all due respect, I find their conclusion that lawyers’ deaths are state-sanctioned preposterous, unless they can back it up with some credible evidence. Of all people, they as lawyers should be the first to show proof of facts before making reckless public statements,” he stressed.

Guevarra challenged the foreign lawyers to provide concrete evidence to support the preliminary findings in their investigation, which only took three days.

“It is my opinion that this is a very sweeping statement and should be backed up by competent proof before being made public,” Guevarra lamented.

The DoJ chief said the foreign lawyers should know better. “I commiserate with the families of my fellow lawyers who got killed in the course of practicing their profession, but I am not ready to impute the blame on the government unless I have clear evidence to support such a serious accusation.”

Guevarra also denied the claim of the group that there’s “no structural remedy” for victims, citing arrests and indictment of suspects in several cases of killings of judges, prosecutors and lawyers.