THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines has put up a P10-million reward money to encourage witnesses in the killings of judges, lawyers and prosecutors to come out and help authorities probe the cases.
IBP National President Domingo Egon Cayosa yesterday said the reward system is part of the overall lawyers’ security program to encourage witnesses to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in identifying the killers of judges, lawyers and prosecutors.
“This is to encourage witnesses and whistleblowers, to expedite investigation and prosecution, but more importantly to act as deterrent,” Cayosa said, adding the money came from the IBP.
“We have to encourage witnesses to help law enforcement agencies track down the perpetrators of this crime,” he added.
Cayosa said they are waiting for the signing of a memorandum of agreement with law enforcement agencies – the PNP, National Bureau of Investigation and the Armed Forces – governing the reward system before it is implemented.
The IBP, the national organization of lawyers in the country, has more 40,000 members.
Also included in the lawyer’s security program is the setting up of a hotline among IBP leaders, the judiciary, and security forces for quick coordination, the training of lawyers in personal security, and the monitoring of cases of killings and other violent attacks.
The Supreme Court had said 31 judges have been killed since 1999, the latest being Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court Judge Mario Anacleto Banez, who was gunned down while he was on his way home to La Union last week.
Last Friday, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said the killing of Banez could be related to the drug cases his sala is handling.