Karapatan condemns murder of woman lawyer in Abra

Photo from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

September 15, 2023

Karapatan condemns the brutal killing of a woman lawyer in Abra yesterday afternoon. Atty. Saniata Alzate was shot dead by gunmen riding in tandem on a motorcycle while she was in her car that was parked in front of her house in Bangued, Abra. 

Atty. Alzate, former president of the Abra chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), had handled a case for writ of amparo for a man who was abducted, tortured and illegally detained in Bangued, Abra in January of this year. Impleaded in the petition for a protection order which was granted in February were eight high-ranking PNP officers in Abra, six of whom are currently under investigation. 

Atty. Alzate was commended by the IBP for the writ of amparo case, citing her “brave efforts” for “lawyering for the public interest” despite “great risks to herself.”

Atty. Alzate is the latest victim in a string of attacks against attorneys and judges in the past years. According to reports, since 2016, at least 61 lawyers, judges and prosecutors have been killed under the Duterte regime. In the 44 months from July 1, 2016 to February 28, 2020 alone, 67 lawyers, prosecutors, and judges were violently attacked in the Philippines, resulting in 55 deaths. The perpetrators have benefited immensely from the prevailing climate of impunity, with only seven cases resulting in charges filed in court from from 2004 to 2021.

Evidently, Atty. Alzate’s murder shows that impunity reigns, with attacks against lawyers and judges continuing under the Marcos Jr. administration. 

Karapatan stands in solidarity with lawyers and judges who have courageously been taking their place in the line of fire in the quest for justice and accountability. 

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General