Many ask why the IBP has been silent and inactive in the face of the seven thousand victims of summary executions/extrajudicial murders that Duterte's deadly war on drugs has inflicted in the past seven months (a gruesome death toll of one thousand per month).
So far, the IBP's only feat has been to issue a routine statement (2016) asking the PNP (the main suspect) to investigate the killings. That's all.
It must be noted that the IBP is receiving millions of pesos annually from the Supreme Court to fund its national and local free legal aid committees and their pro bono lawyers.
As a lifetime member and a former director, secretary and vice president of the IBP Pasay Paranaque Las Pinas Muntinlupa Chapter (1993-2005) and as the founder and past chair/president of the Las Pinas City Bar Association (2001), I exhort the IBP national board to speak up, move, organize and fund its pro bono human rights lawyers nationwide to handle the litigation of the cases in behalf of the victims of the war on drugs and their hapless families.
Filipino lawyers who keep silent in the face of oppression, tyranny and injustice due to ignorance, indifference, fear, or greed, are unworthy of their professional licenses to practise law and to dispense justice.
By their silence, they have abandoned their oaths of office as advocates of truth, freedom, and justice and have disowned the legal profession, a major pillar of the justice system, and their sacred role as officers of the courts.
Below are excerpts from a news item on De Lima's exhortation to the IBP national leaders to mobilize and move as one national voice of Filipino lawyers.
"SENATOR Leila de Lima has appealed to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the public to “voice out their outrage” against extrajudicial killings (EJKs), but she maintained that she is not calling for a “people power” revolt against the Duterte administration.
"De Lima made the remark as she deplored the unabated EJK of suspected drug dealers and drug users despite the pronouncement of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa that he had temporarily stopped the implementation of “Oplan Tokhang” or the government’s all-out war against illegal drugs.
"x x x.
"Asked to qualify her call to the IBP, De Lima said: “To IBP and the lawyers, kasi napapansin ko po, mukhang malabnaw palagi ang mga nagiging reaction nila. They should be more proactive. Tulungan po nila ‘yung mga pamilya ng biktima ng EJKs.”
“Huwag ho nilang ipaubaya lang sa mga groups like FLAG (Free Legal Assistance Group). We are fortunate enough na may grupo katulad ng FLAG na umaasikaso ng mga usapin na ‘yan, sa mga kaso na ‘yan ng EJKs,” she said."
“But I’m appealing to the professional organizations, to the lawyers, to the IBP: lend a hand in terms of exacting justice and accountability,” said De Lima."