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Philippines: Assailants of targeted lawyer in Tumandok massacre trial stole working laptop and documents

'Lawyer for red-tagged tribal folk stabbed; laptop, documents taken', 05 March 2021

Angelo Karlo “AK” Guillen's ... colleagues and the human rights community believe the assailants had intended to kill the 33-year-old lawyer who has been Red-tagged and represents 16 members of the indigenous Tumandok who were arrested in Capiz and Iloilo provinces on Dec. 30, 2020, for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and for alleged links to communist rebels. At least nine Tumandok were killed in last year’s Rizal Day raids by the military and police on the indigenous group, which opposes a government dam project that they said would inundate their ancestral lands. The brutal attack follows the Feb. 28 assassination of Barangay Roosevelt Chair Julie Catamin, a key defense witness for the Tumandok represented by Guillen...

Guillen was attacked at 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday by two men in ski masks who stabbed him in the head and neck as he walked from his car toward his boarding house in Barangay Villa Anita in Iloilo City. Two other men on two motorcycles arrived moments later and fled with the assailants who took his bag that contained his laptop and some documents... Guillen heard one of the assailants shout, “Get the bag!” before they fled, his friend said, adding that the men did not get his wallet, cell phone and other valuables...

Police Maj. Mark Evan Salvo, chief of the Iloilo City Police Station 1, said that based on an initial investigation, robbery could have been the the motive for the attack. But he said they were also looking at the possibility that it was work-related because the lawyer’s laptop and files were taken... Peter Murphy, chair of International Coalition of Human Rights in the Philippines, said the killing of Catamin, the Barangay Roosevelt chief, and the stabbing of Guillen “are all calculated to silence witnesses and lawyers who would dispute police and military claims about the deadly events of Dec. 30.”

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