Editorial: Another gun violence in Cebu’s legal community

·2 min read

Another lawyer was shot in Cebu. Unidentified gunmen attacked attorney Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales while she was driving along a street in Mandaue City on Thursday night, Sept. 1, 2022. Wounded along with the lawyer is her 19-year-old son.

Police said Friday, Sept. 2, that Gonzales and her son were already in stable condition.

The attack on another member of the legal community in Cebu came six days after the first death anniversary of human rights lawyer Rex Jose Mario Fernandez, who was shot dead while he was inside his car in Cebu City on Aug. 26, 2021. His killers are still scot-free. Lawyers groups condemned the attack on Gonzales, who works as head of the Cebu Port Authority’s (CPA) business and marketing department. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City Chapter dangled a P50,000 reward to help authorities identify the perpetrators.

The CPA also condemned it and asked for “a swift and transparent investigation.”

Since 2004, at least 14 lawyers have been killed in Cebu, according to the data relayed by lawyer Abraham Acosta to IBP Cebu City.

Attacks on lawyers show that gun violence in the country does not choose victims.

One of the ways that could help minimize gun violence (if it cannot be eradicated) in Cebu and in other parts of the country is the aggressive law enforcement against loose firearms and firearms with expired licenses.

Lawmakers could perhaps revisit the laws on owning firearms. They could make the process ultra difficult to discourage people from owning one.

Taking the law into one’s hands to settle disputes or to exact revenge has no room in a society governed by a set of laws. A person aggrieved by another person must report to authorities to settle a dispute or file a complaint.

However, there would always be rogue personalities who would resort to gun violence if they notice how slow the police and other law enforcement agencies are in solving crimes.

Apart from Fernandez, the murders of lawyer Jonah John Ungab (2018) and prosecutor Mary Ann Castro (2019), to name a few, remain unsolved until today.

If there are still unsolved murders and other crimes, then who’s to blame?