March 4, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

The special investigation task group of the Philippine National Police has yet to disclose any significant development in its investigation on the killing of lawyer Maria Saniata Liwliwa Alzate on Sept. 14.

Justice Sec. Jesus Crispin Remulla, meanwhile, said the National Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting a parallel investigation, has identified the suspects in the broad daylight killing in Bangued, Abra.

Remulla said the NBI is already collating evidence such as CCTV footages of the killing where the faces of the suspects can be seen. The identities of the suspects were not yet released to the public.

The Abra Police Provincial Office located the getaway motorcycle of the suspects which was abandoned at Cassamata Hill, Zone 5 also in Bangued on Sept. 20.

The police is investigating to whom the motorcycle is registered to further lead them to the suspects.

Earlier, the Abra PPO announced a P100,000 reward to those who can pinpoint the whereabouts of the suspects.

The Commission on Human Rights has joined in calling for justice in the senseless killing of Alzate, who is known to represent the poor and marginalized in pro bono cases.

“In the midst of calls to address impunity, threats and attacks against members of the legal profession directly affront the rule of law. CHR has since stressed their important role: courts, lawyers and judges are crucial in administering justice as well as in uncovering the truth, especially for gross human rights violations,” it said.

The CHR added it is in the best interest of the government to protect lawyers to allow them to do their duty without fear of threats and retaliation.

Her husband, Raphiel is the former acting presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 24 in Ilocos Sur, and the RTC Branch 58 in Abra.

The remains of Alzate were brought home in Bucay on Sept. 22 where she was laid to rest on Sept. 23.