Philippines: prominent judge shot deadEvent
- Initial Date
- Mar 3, 2014
- Event Description
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines-Judge Reynerio Estacio Sr. handled many controversial cases involving politicians, suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits and policemen, and can even be considered a pillar of the Philippine justice system, according to people who knew him well. Any of those cases may have something to do with how his life ended on Friday morning. Two motorcycle-riding men shot Estacio seven times in front of his house on Narra Drive, Tugbungan village, as he was leaving for work around 7:40 a.m. Chief Insp. Felix Martinez, commander of the Tetuan police station, said Estacio was revving the engine of his car to drive off when the gunmen struck. His wife, Teresita, who was in the car was not hurt, but Estacio died while being taken to hospital, Martinez said. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno condemned the killing of the judge, and asked the law enforcement agencies to "act swiftly" and bring the perpetrators to justice. "I wish to express my deepest outrage over the killing of Judge Estacio," Sereno said in a statement released by the Supreme Court in Manila. "I offer my sincerest condolences to his widow, Teresita, and the other members of his family," Sereno said. "We remember our brother judge and thank his family for sharing him with the judiciary." Sereno said Executive Judge Peter Eisma of the Zamboanga Regional Trial Court had been instructed to closely monitor the police investigation of Estacio's killing and to provide support and assistance to the judge's family. Eisma was expected to send a report to the Supreme Court later on Friday. Defenseless judiciary Sereno lamented that the judiciary had no resources to combat violence against its members and that it had to rely on law enforcers to investigate and bring to justice the killers of judges. "We will not, however, let the killing of Judge Estacio remain yet another statistic due to the judiciary's lack of investigative or law enforcement capacities," Sereno said. "Within the bounds of our resources, we will look into ways of protecting our judges and looking after their families," she said. "The proposition that inter arma enim silent leges (in the clash of arms the law is silent) is unacceptable. In order that judges may continue to be fearless and undaunted in discharging their duties of fairly, impartially and swiftly dispensing justice, they must be insulated from the violence that comes from the clash of arms. The law must speak and speak loudly so that the arms are silenced-inter leges silent arma," she said. Attack recorded Investigators in Zamboanga said a closed-circuit television camera recorded the attack on Estacio and the footage could help police identify the gunmen. Martinez said, however, that it might not be easy to determine the motive and brains behind the murder. "We may unmask the gunmen, but we still do not know the principal in this crime," he said. Martinez said investigators were coordinating with the Hall of Justice "so we can review the cases handled by Judge Estacio." "What a sad news. We praise him for his sense of justice and strict observance of the law," lawyer Yasser Apion of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos said. Apion said one of the controversial cases that Estacio handled was the petition of Muslim students of the Universidad de Zamboanga to be allowed to wear veil on the campus. Many schools here have banned the veil or niqab following terror attacks in recent years, but Estacio struck the ban, Apion said. "We pray that the culprits will be brought to justice very soon," he said. Jalosjos case The Inquirer learned that Estacio was the judge who disallowed the inclusion of convicted child rapist Romeo Jalosjos on the Zamboanga City voter list in 2012. Jalosjos wanted to be registered as a voter in Zamboanga so he could run in the 2013 mayoral race. Estacio also cited for contempt in 2012 Senior Supt. Edgar Danao, then the director for Western Mindanao of the police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, for failing to present an Abu Sayyaf suspect in court despite the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.
- Impact of Event
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On March 1, 2014, Reynerio Estacio Sr. was shot dead outside his house by unidentified assailants. Judge Estacio was renowned as an upstanding judge and had handled sensitive cases, from political corruption to human trafficking. However, the link between these activities and his death remain unclear.