Last night, we were hit with another sad news. We mourn the passing of a colleague in this profession, Former Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro, who was ruthlessly gunned down while driving along Escario Street in Cebu City.
Atty. Castro’s death again brings light to the spate of killings, which unquestionably manifest a pattern of deliberate targeting of lawyers handling controversial cases or holding high profile positions. To be sure, the violence that took these lawyers’ lives was defiantly committed in the open, as if intended to send a message – that we are not safe and we should always watch our backs.
This current incident is no exception, having been committed on a public street despite the gun ban in effect and heightened police presence in Cebu City in line with the celebration of the Sinulog Festival. The message is heard loud and clear. We understand no one is safe. We know we have to watch our backs. But while we confront with this reality in our daily lives, we are alarmed, but we will not cower in our sworn duty as officers of the court and advocates of our clients – no matter who they are and what opinion anyone has on their guilt or innocence. Lest it be mistaken, we do not claim that everyone in the legal profession is above reproach.
We express our abhorrence of this senseless, violent crime, and our heart goes out to Atty. Castro’s family and friends. We are all with you in this time of grief. In our hearts and prayers still are the families of Atty. Benjamin Ramos, and Atty. John Ungab, and all the other brother and sister lawyers who suffered the same fate. We rest assured that, with the efforts of the lawful authorities and the cooperation of everyone concerned, the long arm of the law will eventually catch up on those behind this crime.