DOJ chief in fa­vor of arm­ing prosecutors

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - METRO - By Dona Z. Pazzibugan @dpazz­ibuganINQ

State prosecutors should start car­ry­ing firearms for “self-de­fense” fol­low­ing the killing of Que­zon City Deputy Prose­cu­tor Rogelio Ve­lasco last week, Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Me­nardo Guevarra said on Thurs­day.

Guevarra added that he was also in fa­vor of pro­vid­ing state prosecutors bul­let-proof vests and ve­hi­cles but the gov­ern­ment could not af­ford it.

“Yes, I will sup­port prosecutors get­ting firearms for self-de­fense. I wish we could [sup­ply them] with bul­let­proof ve­hi­cles to boot, but we have to live within our means and just do our job well,” Guevarra told re­porters.

“For now we can only wear the breast­plate of right­eous­ness and the full ar­mor of God,” he added.

7th to be killed

The 64-year-old Ve­lasco was the sev­enth gov­ern­ment prose­cu­tor to be killed since Pres­i­dent Duterte, a for­mer prose­cu­tor him­self, took of­fice.

Ve­lasco was shot sev­eral times in­side his ve­hi­cle by sev­eral men in broad day­light in Que­zon City on May 11. His two daugh­ters who were with him were un­hurt.

His death prompted some 100 prosecutors from var­i­ous cities in Metro Manila led by Act­ing Prose­cu­tor Gen­eral Jorge Cata­lan to hold an in­dig­na­tion rally at the Que­zon City Hall of Jus­tice on Tues­day. Col­leagues de­scribed the slain Ve­lasco as kind and hard­work­ing.

Guevarra ear­lier or­dered the Na­tional Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion to con­duct a par­al­lel probe to find Ve­lasco’s killers and the mastermind.

Since Oc­to­ber 2016, seven gov­ern­ment prosecutors, in­clud­ing Ve­lasco, have been as­sas­si­nated while an­other sur­vived an am­bush.

Other tar­gets

Mati City Prose­cu­tor Rolando Acido, 54, was shot dead as he was get­ting out of his car on Oct. 26, 2016.

Que­zon City As­sis­tant Prose­cu­tor Noel Min­goa was gunned down out­side a restau­rant on Jan. 11, 2017.

Al­most a month later, Suri­gao City Prose­cu­tor Manuel Te­siorna Jr. was wounded but sur­vived when a gun­man on a mo­tor­cy­cle opened fire at him out­side his house on Feb. 6, 2017.

On May 22, 2017, Caloocan As­sis­tant State Prose­cu­tor Dios­dado Azarcon was shot sev­eral times in the head by a man on a mo­tor­cy­cle as he was about to leave his house.

Rizal Pro­vin­cial Prose­cu­tor Maria Ronatay was gunned down by two men on a mo­tor­cy­cle on July 18, 2017 as she was driv­ing on Or­ti­gas Av­enue Ex­ten­sion in Tay­tay, Rizal.

For­mer Man­daluy­ong City Prose­cu­tor-turned-barangay chair Pablito Ga­hol was shot dead on Sept. 2, 2017.

Days later, Que­zon prov­ince As­sis­tant Prose­cu­tor Rey­mund Luna was shot dead on Sept. 29, 2017 on his way home from a court hear­ing.

—ED­WIN BACASMAS

OUT­RAGED Prosecutors con­demn the killing of their col­league, Que­zon City Deputy Prose­cu­tor Rogelio Ve­lasco, dur­ing an in­dig­na­tion rally held ear­lier this week at the Que­zon City Hall of Jus­tice.

Me­nardo Guevarra

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