Manila chief inquest prosecutor shot dead
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Manila's chief inquest prosecutor Jovencio Senados was shot dead on Tuesday morning, July 7.
In a phone interview with Rappler, Manila Police District (MPD) chief Brigadier General Rolando Miranda said Senados was gunned down at around 11 am along Quirino Avenue in the capital.
Senados, 62, was in his car when he was attacked. Miranda said police are still gathering information on the identity of the killers, as well as how many carried out the attack.
Who was Senados? In the beginning of the lockdown in Manila, Senados maintained that people to be arrested by policemen for minor violations need not be detained.
As the chief inquest prosecutor, he was the approving authority of inquest resolutions, including the recent release of the Manila Pride protesters pending further investigation.
Senados invoked an office policy that minor offenders do not deserve to be in prolonged detention.
He was among the many prosecutors who reported for duty to process the arrests during lockdown despite of the threats to their own health, and difficulty in transportation.
Division abolished the day before. In a July 6 order obtained by Rappler, or the day before he was killed, Senados' inquest division was abolished.
The order, signed by City Prosecutor Rey Bulay, said that it was done to distribute complaints for inquest to 12 division chiefs of the Manila Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) and expedite proceedings.
"The delegated authority to act upon inquest cases given to Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Jovencio Senados as chief of the inquest division and his assistant chief is hereby revoked," said the order.
"Upon effectivity of this office order, they shall return to their respective division assignments prior to their appointment at the inquest division," said the order.
Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said it was a "reconfiguration" done by the Manila OCP.
NBI probe ordered: The Department of Justice condemned Senados' killing.
Justice Secretary Manardo Guevarra ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a probe.
"We are shocked by the audacity of this attack. It highlights once again the grave peril that our prosecutors face each day in the discharge of their duties," Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
Senados adds to a growing list of slain lawyers ever since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. As of January 28, 2020, Rappler counted at least 48 judges, prosecutors, and lawyers have been killed since July 2016. – with a report from Lian Buan/Rappler.com