The human rights lawyer Rex Fernandez was shot dead in Cebu City on August 26, 2021. In the late afternoon two unidentified motorcyclists ambushed Fernandez and his driver, who was rushed to the hospital. Fernandez was a founding member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), represented numerous political prisoners and was the legal counselor of eight activists who were arrests on June 5, 2020, during a rally against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 in Cebu City. He was an advocate of Carbon, an alliance of vendor organizations, and their protest against modernization measures of a farmers‘ market in Cebu. Lately he was on a hunger strike to draw attention to financial intransparencies of the condominium unit he was living in. Recently the former supporter of the administration publicly expressed his disillusionment with Duterte.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) calls for an implementation of „specific measures to improve the security of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors and swiftly resolve investigations on the killings.“ Despite the high toll of lawyers killed during the Duterte administration – the 63 cases show an increase of 500% compared to previous governments – there is no Special Investigating Team (SIT) within the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) announced to conduct an independent investigation of Fernandez killing while reminding the government to act in that matter. In March 2021 the Supreme Courts (SC) Committee on Human Rights started to collect reports on assaults against judges and lawyers to present evaluations and recommendations.
Read more in our article regarding the concerns about killings of members of the jurisdiction.