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CHR probing attack vs. lawyer in Abra

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday said it has also started investigating the attack against a lawyer in Bangued, Abra.

“In line with our mandate as the country's independent human rights institution, our regional office in the Cordillera Administrative Region is conducting a motu proprio investigation in aid of the pursuit of truth and accountability,” the CHR said in a statement.

This comes after Atty. Hamilcar Bigornia, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Abra Chapter president, and his aide were wounded after they were attacked on January 29 inside his law office.

Both Bigornia and his aide survived the attack.

Meanwhile, the CHR called on the IBP, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other law enforcement agencies to look into the attack and similar occurrences in the past.

“CHR notes that threat, intimidation, and the many forms of violence experienced by lawyers, judges, and all those in the legal profession has been a continuing concern by the UN Human Rights Office,” it said.

“Lawyers, judges, and all those in the legal profession are vital in administering justice, finding the truth, and protecting human rights. When lawyers are targeted, the rule of law is similarly under threat, which runs the risk of impunity persisting,” it later added.

According to the CHR,  it is willing to coordinate with the government to improve the protection of lawyers and human rights defenders.

For its part, the IBP has called on the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the attack— Joahna Lei Casilao/RSJ, GMA Integrated News