The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) mourns the passing of one of its members, Atty. Rodolfo R. Felicio, as it is outraged by how he was mercilessly felled by bullets of lawless elements last Sunday, August 24, 2014 at Floodway, Taytay, Rizal while reportedly amongst his clients.
As of this writing, the authorities have yet to ascertain the name/s of the suspect/s but are considering his active involvement in a land dispute case as a possible motive for the killing. This early, nonetheless, it is clear that he was killed while in the course of performance of his duties as a lawyer.
Atty. Felicio is an active member of NUPL-Rizal Chapter. A true peoples’ lawyer and a jolly good fellow, he is always quick and ready to respond to calls for legal assistance and is, in fact, a reliable hand in Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) sent out by the NUPL and human rights group KARAPATAN-Rizal to address human rights cases. He is also a part of the private prosecution team, along with other NUPL lawyers, in the Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case.
Atty. Felicio is a graduate of University of San Carlos in Cebu and, prior to being a solo practitioner in Rizal area, worked for the Commission on Human Rights. His killing is particularly a tremendous loss to the people of Rizal, his family, friends and relatives, to us fellow peoples’ lawyers and to the legal profession, in general. As aptly remembered by a friend and colleague in peoples’ lawyering, Atty. Ming Saladero, “Si Atty. Felicio ay palatawa, palabiro at masipag sya sa pagQRT sa mga hinuhuli. Sya ay katuwang ng KARAPATAN, Rizal. Malaking kawalan sa amin ang pagpanaw nya hindi lamang sa HR kundi pati bilang kaibigan.”
For the nth time, we call on the government to solve with dispatch the rising impunity in the killings of lawyers and other human rights defenders. We shall also seek the help of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), and the Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation (L4L) in seeking justice for our slain colleague.
We have already lost five from our ranks in a decade, and innumerable others subjected to various forms of attacks ranging from surveillance, labeling, intimidation, harassment, threats, plus false or nuisance charges and discrimination.
We have lost too many and cannot afford to lose yet another in the hands of those who show no respect for the law and no regard whatsoever to life. As we remember those who have died in the line of fire, we must protect those who are left standing, especially those who are one with the people in their causes, principled, weather-beaten and under attack. We shall carry on, Rudy.
NUPL-Rizal Chapter President
Maria Cristina Yambot-Tanseco
NUPL- Rizal Chapter Secretary General
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