FOLLOWING the shooting of Butuan Judge Godofredo Abul Jr.,and the Supreme Court’s outrage on the attack on yet another one of its own, The Manila Times researched on some of the justices who were killed under the Duterte and Aquino administrations.
Below is the list:
* Butuan Judge Godofredo Abul Jr., 68, from the Regional Trial Court Branch 4 was shot dead by a lone gunman on Aug 6, 2017 along with his wife as they left their house in Baan, Butuan City for a church service. Abul was handling illegal drug cases and heinous crimes at the time of his death.
* Judge Hector Salise of RTC Bayugan in Agusan Del Sur, an anti-illegal drug advocate who handled similar cases, was ambushed together with his driver along the Butuan Highway on Sept 23, 2016. President Rodrigo Duterte later accused Salise of “case-fixing” and named him as one of the judges on his drug list.
* RTC Judge Emmanuel Pasal of Cagayan De Oro on May 19, 2016 survived two attempts on his life. The first attempt on his life was on April 17, 2016 in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan De Oro when he was on his way home from a hearing.
The second was he was on his way to attend hearings in Bukidnon. Pasal, who was then the presiding judge handling drug cases in RTC Branch 10, was in the car with two police escorts and his driver when four unidentified gunmen hurled an explosive at their vehicle and subsequently opened fire. The judge and his companions were unhurt.
* Judge Reynaldo Espinar of the Laoang Municipal Trial Court was shot dead by an unidentified gunman while watching a cockfight in Pambujan, Samar on Nov 22, 2015. Espinar’s security shot and killed the assailant. Initial police investigation showed that the gunman was a member of the New People’s Army.
Espinar survived an ambush in May 2015 when while aboard a motorcycle, two men shot him in the chest. Due to previous death threats, Espinar started wearing a bulletproof vest, which he had on at the time of the shooting.
* Judge Wilfredo Nieves of the Malolos City, Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 84, was shot dead on Nov 11, 2015. Nieves sentenced notorious car thief Raymond Dominguez to 30 years in prison. The gunman who killed him, Arnel Janoras, was reportedly Dominguez’s accomplice. Janoras was killed on his way to his inquest on another case.
* Baler RTC Branch 91 Presiding Judge Jude Erwin Alaba was shot dead by an unidentified gunman near his courtroom on Sept 1, 2015. Based on Baler police investigation, Alaba has made several convictions that may have angered some people.
* RTC Branch 14 Judge Reynerio Estacio of Zamboanga City was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen on his way to work on Feb 28, 2014. Estacio held high profile criminal cases, including murder and drugs and was known for having convicted human traffickers. His murder was reportedly connected to a controversial case of a family feud in Sulu. One of the arrested gunmen was a suspect in a case Estacio handled.
* Municipal Circuit Trial Judge Fredelito Pingao of Ilocos Norte was found dead in his house with slashes on his neck on Jan 19, 2011. Pingao, who was the acting presiding judge of Branch 1, Laoag City Trial Court, may have been killed for personal reasons or a land dispute in which the judge allegedly used his influence to win the case.
* Vigan Regional Trial Court Branch 20 Judge Reynaldo Lacasandile was ambushed by two men in motorcycle in Tagudin Town, Ilocos Sur on his way to Vigan City on October 4, 2010. Police said the motive could be either personal or work-related because “as a judge, he could have penned decisions [that hurt some people].” CHARISSA MAE NEMIS