Groups call for sobriety amid investigation into Manila judge’s killing
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) – November 13, 2020 – 3:31pm
MANILA, Philippines — A thorough investigation into the killing of Judge Maria Teresa Abadilla would be more helpful than speculation social media blaming her for her own death,the University of the Philippines Portia Alumnae Association said.
In a statement on Friday, the group called for justice for their sorority sister’s death. “We call on our police to ensure a fair and full investigation. We ask that they conduct a fact-based determination of the reasons why the gunman committed this heinous crime,” they said.
The Philippine Judges Association also urged sobriety as probes into the incidents are conducted. In a statement, PJA said: “There are many questions which are still left unanswered. Hence, we request for sobriety and patience and let the investigation take its proper course.”
The National Bureau of Investigation is also conducting a parallel probe into the shooting. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra noted that it involves the security of the Judiciary.
The Office of the Court Administrator is also looking into the incident and reviewing its policies.
PJA added: “Her passing is a constant reminder that judges, while performing their judicial duties and functions, are not spare from the risks and hazards that they are exposed to, not only from an assassin’s bullet, but even from persons known to them.”
Sorority condemns social media posts
The UP Portia Alumane Association also condemned social media posts “irresponsibly rushed to judgment and engaged in victim-blaming.” The posts supposedly say that Abadilla was to blame in part for her own death.
The 44-year-old Manila court judge was killed by her her clerk of court who later shot himself inside Abadilla’s chamber on Wednesday afternoon.
“This is not only baseless but also deeply disrespectful to her memory. It dangerously trivializes her murder and justifies the inexcusable crime of the gunman,” they said.
“These posts allege, without any shred of evidence, that the perpetrator suffered from mental health issues which caused him to commit this crime. Some even went as far as to unfairly suggest that Judge Tessa worsend his condition, again without any basis,” the group continued.
They also noted the “premature release” of Manila’s city security report, issued on the same afternoon of the shooting incident. They noted that the report, which was carried by media outlets, only relied on information from one person.
“This deeply flawed report fuelled the victim-blaming online, instead of providing clarity and closure,” they said.
Other reports carried a statement from Manila Police District’s Homicide Division chief, Capt. Henry Navarro, who said that Rebato became “depressed” after recovering from COVID-19. This supposedly affected his work and he was supposed to quit his work when he met with Abadilla.
The alumnae association stressed that Abadilla is known for being kind and compassionate. “She would never dismiss any person only for mental health issues or COVD-19,” they said.
“This culture of victim-blaming, which often prejudices female victims by assigning full or partial responsibility for a gruesome crime on the victim, is unfair and unjust,” they added.
The group vowed that they will continue to pursue justice for Abadilla’s death “Without any credible conclusion to this case, we will continue to seek justice for our beloved sister, Judge Tessa Abadilla,” they added.