They’re killing judges


    JUDGES and prosecutors share the professional risks of policemen and soldiers in any nation that seriously mounts a war on drug syndicates. Mexico and Colombia, the most active countries where tons of illegal drugs such as heroin and meth are sourced, remain the best examples.

    Mexico is home to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the Sinaloa Cartel. Guzman evaded arrest for some time, but finally fell in 2016 and was extradited to the US a year later. Last February, a New York court sentenced him to life imprisonment.

    Colombia, meanwhile, is known for Pablo Escobar, the elusive cocaine trafficker to have ever existed, the 7th richest man in the world with a personal fortune of US $25 billion, most from the illegal drugs trade.

    Between El Chapo and Escobar of the Medellin Cartel (he died in 1993), hundreds of judges, prosecutors and policemen may have been kidnapped, tortured, and murdered.

    That is expected in any country’s relentless fight against drugs.

    In the Philippines, it has become a new phenomenon – this series of killings of judges, prosecutors, and personnel of the judiciary. And researchers think this has something to do with President Duterte’s relentless drive against drug criminals.

    Media reports showed that since 1999, at least 31 judges had been killed in work-related murders. In the past three years, from 2016 to 2019, five judges have been slain. The latest victim was Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court Branch 25 Judge Mario Anacleto Banez.

    Leaders of the House of Representatives, including Leyte Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso, and Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta have endorsed the creation of a security system patterned after the United States Marshal Service which provides security to judges and other court officials in the US. The service also guards court proceedings and conferences, and secures buildings and properties used by members of the US judiciary.

    Other congressmen such as Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel joined Veloso in the move in Congress to take care of the security of the nation’s judges, and even to provide support for their surviving spouses and children if they are slain while doing their official work.

    This is a national concern that should enjoy the backing of our senators and representatives.