Lawyer Benjamin Ramos shot and killed
26 november 2018

Lawyer Benjamin Ramos shot and killed

Filippijnen

On 6 November 2018, lawyer Benjamin Ramos from the Philippines was shot and killed by two unidentified men. He was 56 years old. Lawyers for Lawyers has reason to believe the killing of Atty. Ramos is connected to his legitimate activities.

Benjamin Ramos was a prominent lawyer and a founder of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL). In his work with the NUPL, Atty. Ramos had previously provided legal assistance to the families of the victims of the ‘Sagay 9 massacre’, which involved the killing of nine sugarcane farmers from the National Federation of Sugar Workers by unidentified armed men on 20 October 2018 in Negros Occidental, a province in the central part of the Philippines.

On 6 November 2018, lawyer Benjamin Ramos was shot by two unidentified men in the public plaza of Barangay 5, Kabankalan City. Earlier, Atty. Ramos had been tagged in a public poster by the Philippine police as among the so-called personalities of the underground armed movement.

The case of Atty. Ramos is not isolated. On 23 August 2018, Atty. Raphael Atotubo was killed in front of his house in Barangay 20, Bacolod, when a gunman alighted from a motorcycle and shot him twice at close range. Atty. Atotubo succumbed to a bullet wound on the head. It been reported that Atty. Atotubo was mainly representing clients in drug-related cases. According to our information, there have been at least twenty-four (24) lawyers killed since 2016, under Your administration.

The practice of labeling

We were informed that a number of lawyers have received threats for handling cases of political prisoners, suspected rebels, environmentalists, and suspected poor drug users. These lawyers are subjected to various forms of attacks ranging from surveillance, labelling, intimidation, harassment, threats, prosecution on fabricated charges to killings.

The practice of labeling – combined with the culture of impunity –has in the past been identified by national and international fact-finding commissions as one of the main root causes for the spate of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines since 2001. Many lawyers were labeled as ‘enemies of the state’ prior to being attacked, apparently becausethey were identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of performing their professional duties.

Letter to authorities

Lawyers for Lawyers has reason to believe the killing of Atty. Ramos is connected to his legitimate activities. We called on the authorities of the Philippines to carry out a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the killing of Atty. Ramos.

 

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