DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / July 18) – The section of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) -Davao City has declared the murder of lawyer Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie and her husband Muhaimin outside their residence in Solariega, a closed housing estate in Barangay Talomo on July 13 is a “derogation from the rule of law”.
In a statement released Thursday, the group of lawyers condemned the killings and urged police and other law enforcement agencies to investigate the two murders and bring those responsible for their deaths to justice.
“Every life is sacred and must be respected. The attempt to take a life will never be tolerated in a civilized society, ”said IBP-Davao.
The group called on the government to secure its citizens and provide security for lawyers and those involved in the administration of justice to enable them to perform their duties without fear, harassment and reprisals.
Atty. Sapie, who worked in the Land Reform Department, was known to advocate for land reform beneficiaries. She became a lawyer in 2018.
She was arrested at her home on June 29, 2019 for alleged illegal possession of firearms – a 9mm Beretta, a magazine with 14 bullets and two holsters – and was released on bail two days later. But she denied the allegations and claimed she was harassed for defending farmers’ rights.
MindaNews has asked Col. Kirby Kraft, director of the Davao City Police Bureau (DCPO) about the progress of the investigation and the possible suspects behind the murders, but he has not yet responded.
But in an interview with Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Friday, Kraft said investigators were looking for a “personal grudge” as a possible motive for their murder as the couple faced multiple land disputes.
The couple hosted “Justice Reedemer,” a free online legal advice program, addressing “general legal issues” and an opinion-oriented political program, which also airs on 94.7 Power Radio Davao (DXLL) .
On the video surveillance images broadcast by Newsline.ph on July 15, Atty. Sapie was seen walking past their residence after their program on Wednesday, accompanied by her bodyguards, when she suddenly fell to her knees after being shot by a still unknown gunman. Atty. Sapie’s husband rushed outside to take care of his wife, but was also shot dead while kissing her.
Kraft said it was possible the couple were shot by a “sniper” because none of the people, including bodyguards and friends, who were with them at the time of the incident were able to locate them. suspects.
He said they are still gathering evidence, including CCTV footage of homes in the housing estate, to determine possible suspects.
He said security guards at the exclusive subdivision did not keep logs of visitors entering the subdivision, other than being asked to hand over their identification, which would be returned to owners upon departure. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)