SC condemns killing of Ilocos Sur judge

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    CHIEF Justice Diosdado Peralta yesterday condemned the killing last Tuesday of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court Judge Mario Anacleto Banez, the 31st judge killed since January 1999.

    Peralta also called on law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in their investigation to unmask and arrest the killers of Banez.

    Banez was attacked while he was on his way home in La Union and was declared dead on arrival at the Lorna Hospital in San Fernando City.

    “On behalf of the Judiciary, I strongly condemn the killing of Regional Trial Court Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur. I call on law enforcement agencies to exert their best efforts and be relentless in their investigation for immediate apprehension of those responsible for this atrocious and dastardly act,” Peralta said.

    He also condoled with the family of the slain judge.

    Peralta earlier called for the establishment of a US Marshal Service-type agency to protect judges and justices from security threats.

    Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said of the 31 cases since 1999, only five have been resolved so far by the authorities.

    Under the Duterte administration, aside from Banez, the other murdered judges were Butuan City RTC Branch 4 Judge Godofredo Abul Jr. (August 5, 2017), Lagonoy, Camarines Sur MTC Judge Ricky Begino ( June 12, 2018), Ozamiz City RTC Branch 15 Judge Edmundo Pintac (October 8, 2018) and Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte RTC Branch 11 Judge Reymar Lacaya (May 9, 2019).

    The killing of Lacaya took place even after the SC had drawn up measures to address security concerns over work-related killings of judges in the country.