Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin urged police authorities to expedite their investigation into the ambush of Judge Reymar L. Lacaya of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte Regional Trial Court, Branch 11, who was shot dead on Thursday afternoon in Liloy Zamboanga del Norte.
“The entire Judiciary condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of Judge Lacaya. I am urging the authorities to exert their best efforts for the immediate apprehension of those responsible for Judge Lacaya’s death,” Chief Justice Bersamin said.
Judge Lacaya is the 30th judge to be slain while in Judiciary service since 1999.
The Court already drew up measures to address security concerns to curb the work-related killing of judges. In 2005, the Court approved the Guidelines for Detail of Court Personnel as Security of Judges. The Guidelines cover all Regional Trial Courts, Shari’a District Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Shari’a Circuit Courts.
Under the Guidelines, a judge who receives a direct threat may apply with the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the Court’s Security Committee for protection.
Likewise, the Court, through the Office of the Court Administrator, has inked a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine National Police in 2005 “to work and coordinate with each other in the processing of Permits to Carry Licensed Firearms of the members of the Judiciary,” especially those who are receiving death threats. With the MOA, judges are granted permits to carry their firearms even outside their stations.