Saturday, December 31, 2005

FLAG Statement - December 31, 2006


The FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE GROUP [FLAG] condemns the murder of FLAG lawyer, Judge Henrick Gingoyon.  

Judge Gingoyon is remembered by FLAG for his contributions to the cause of human rights.  As a FLAG lawyer based in Cebu, he pursued the defense of those who could not find anyone to defend them:  political prisoners, workers, slum dwellers, farmers, and victims of human rights violations.  His relentless defense of human rights cases distinguished him as a human rights lawyer and a man of conviction.

As a FLAG lawyer, he received death threats and was placed under surveillance.  On 28 August 1987, at the height of the coup, Judge Gingoyon’s home was illegally raided by the military.  During the raid, soldiers manhandled his then 10-year daughter by stepping on her stomach.  A year later, Judge Gingoyon was among those named in a death list prepared by the military and distributed to vigilantes in Toledo City, which called for his immediate execution.

His brutal murder illustrates the complete breakdown of law and order in the Philippines.  The killing of any judge is an attack on the independence and integrity of the judiciary; it jeopardizes the conditions under which justice may be dispensed.  

Media reports indicate that Judge Gingoyon was walking towards his home when two unidentified men on board a motorcycle shot him.  No information as to the identities of the perpetrators or the reason behind his murder is yet available.  However, the modus operandi of his murder is reminiscent of the murders of other FLAG lawyers.

As FLAG mourns his death, FLAG demands a speedy, impartial and full investigation into the murder of Judge Henrick Gingoyon in order to bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice.  

Quezon City, Philippines, 31 December 2005.

JOSE MANUEL I. DIOKNO (computer generated hence unsigned)