Human rights lawyer in one of Anti-Terrorism Act petitions stabbed in Iloilo City

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Photo courtesy: Panay Today

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) – A lawyer of one of the 37 petitions assailing the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was stabbed by two unidentified men, Wednesday night in Iloilo City.

Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen was stabbed in the head and shoulder by two mask-wearing culprits, the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) confirmed. The human rights lawyer serves as NUPL's assistant vice president in the Visayas.

"NUPL calls on authorities to promptly and properly investigate the attempt on the life of Atty. Guillen," the organization said in a statement.

Guillen is a lawyer in the petition spearheaded by NUPL which questions the legality of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. Many sectoral groups have assailed this law for its broad provisions that may violate constitutional rights.

Guillen also represented activists who were arrested during police raids in Bacolod City in October 2019 and Tumandok tribe members who were jailed December last year. The human rights lawyer was also detained following a Labor Day protest last year, after responding to what he claimed was the illegal arrest of 42 activists who were protesting the killing of Bayan Muna Iloilo coordinator Jory Porquia.

"This is way too much, too many, too brazen, too evil. Hold tight, AK (Guillen). Show these cowards what a fighter you are," said NUPL President Edre Olalia.

NUPL said it has recorded at least 54 work-related killings of lawyers and judges since June 2016.

Palace condemns attack on human rights lawyer in Ilo-ilo City

"We condemn that attack in the same manner that we condemn any attack that seeks to violate the right to life," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said during a virtual briefing on Thursday.

"We consider na mas karumal-dumal ang pag-atake sa isang abogado dahil inaatake din nila ang rule of law," he added.

[Translation: We consider it more heinous to attack a lawyer because they also attack the rule of law.]

Roque said the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation should hunt down the suspects.

"Parusahan ang mga taong nasa likod nito," Roque said.

[Translation: Punish the people behind it.]