SENATOR Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, noting the alarming resurgence of criminality in the country, slammed the daylight killing of a young, practicing lawyer in the province of Antique, describing the incident as a hard blow to the legal profession.
Lawyer John Mark Espera, 39, was pronounced dead on arrival last Saturday at the Antique Provincial Hospital at the capital town of San Jose de Buenavista from gunshot wounds sustained in what is believed to be an incident linked up to local politics.
Police said that Espera was shot at about 11:30 a.m. last Saturday in Barangay Puao, Hamtic, about 12 kilometers away from San Jose de Buenavista. The alleged assassin was identified as Police Officer 3 Jose Suarez, who is assigned with the Tobias Fornier police station.
Two more accomplices are being hunted down by police authorities, identified as the policeman’s younger brother Rico and his unidentified cousin who were both believed to have been allegedly involved in the shooting incident.
Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, urged police authorities to work double time for the early resolution of the case so that the culprits are brought for trial, adding that the brutal execution has caused alarm, not only among lawyers, but other law-abiding citizens as well.
He said that many lawyers are working pro-bono just to help find justice for the aggrieved parties, especially in the countryside that the slaying of Espera allegedly by a policeman, who is tasked to serve and protect the public, is a case in contrast.