Henrick Gingoyon
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Judge handling PIATCo case murdered  
January 1, 2006 @ 12:49 am · Filed under In the News BARELY 12 hours before the new year, the judge handling the expropriation case over the mothballed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 between the government and a Filipino-German consortium was ambushed to death by two unidentifed motorcycle-riding assailants near his residence in Soldier’s Hills Village in Bacoor, Cavite. Judge Henrick Gingoyon of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 117 was declared dead on arrival at the Imus General Hospital, sustaining four gunshot wounds in his body. On January 4, 2005, Gingoyon ordered the government to release $62.34 million to the Philippine International Air Terminals Company (PIATCo) as compensation for the cost incurred in building the NAIA Terminal 3 facilities, a decision that was recently upheld by the Supreme Court. In its December 19 ruling, the high court ordered the government to pay P3 billion to the consortium that includes the German airport operator Fraport AG as a requirement for its takeover of NAIA 3. Such circumstances have prompted recently appointed SC Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban to raise concern that there could be "something deeper" about Gingoyon’s murder. Prior to his appointment as trial court judge, Gingoyon was a Cebu-based human rights lawyer affiliated with the Free Legal Assistance Group. According to the Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL), Gingoyon was the first and only judge to have been murdered in 2005, but he was the 10th since 1999. Aside from Gingoyon, seven other members of the bar — all laywers — met the same gruesome fate this past year, which include: * Atty. Norman Bocar, chair of Bayan Muna-Eastern Visayas, * Public Defender Teresita Vidamo of the Public Attorney’s Office, * Atty. Felidito Dacut, incoming chair of the Legal Aid Committee of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Leyte Chapter at the time of his death; * Atty. Ambrosio Matias, who was counsel to peasant organizations in Central Luzon. Following is the statement issued by FLAG on Gingoyon’s murder: The Free Legal Assisstance Group (FLAG) condemns the murder of FLAG lawyer, Judge Henrick Gingoyon. Judge Gingoyon is remembered by FLAG for his contributions to the cause of human rights. As a FLAG lawyer based in Cebu, he pursued the defense of those who could not find anyone to defend them: political prisoners, workers, slum dwellers, farmers, and victims of human rights violations. His relentless defense of human rights cases distinguished him as a human rights lawyer and a man of conviction. As a FLAG lawyer, he received death threats and was placed under surveillance. On 28 August 1987, at the height of the coup, Judge Gingoyon’s home was illegally raided by the military. During the raid, soldiers manhandled his then 10-year daughter by stepping on her stomach. A year later, Judge Gingoyon was among those named in a death list prepared by the military and distributed to vigilantes in Toledo City, which called for his immediate execution. His brutal murder illustrates the complete breakdown of law and order in the Philippines. The killing of any judge is an attack on the independence and integrity of the judiciary; it jeopardizes the conditions under which justice may be dispensed. Media reports indicate that Judge Gingoyon was walking towards his home when two unidentified men on board a motorcycle shot him. No information as to the identities of the perpetrators or the reason behind his murder is yet available. However, the modus operandi of his murder is reminiscent of the murders of other FLAG lawyers. As FLAG mourns his death, FLAG demands a speedy, impartial and full investigation into the murder of Judge Henrick Gingoyon in order to bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice. Quezon City, Philippines, 31 December 2005. JOSE MANUEL I. DIOKNO Chair
Published: 9 January 2006  

My condolences to the bereaved family of the late Judge Henrick Gingoyon. Henrick's fate was similar to those of other human rights champions at the height of the dictatorial regime, which he and his peers had vehemently condemned.

My TV news field days would never be a complete affair without covering their pro-poor activities that also involved Redemptorist Priest Rudy Romano, who remains missing until this writing.

The irony of it is that Henrick died in an environment that was supposed to be the fruit of his struggle against a dictator under whose regime hundreds of human rights advocates and innocent people were slaughtered.

The Tera system of my office computer carried the shocking Inquirer dispatch about Henrick's death which I relayed to Judge Menmen Paredes, through his wife Jane, and former Cebu governor Tingting de la Serna for dissemination to Henrick's other colleagues at FLAG, a group of lawyers who played an important role in defending the rights of the oppressed.

Former Cebu vice governor Democrito Barcenas, and the late lawyers Al Surigao and Vic Balbuena were among other members of the FLAG who were visible during those dark days. Al also met a violent death in the late 8Os; he was shot in Surigao inside his residence.

Like Henrick, Al paid dearly for extending free legal assistance to poor litigants, and his active participation in rallies against the oppressive regime. That made Al among the military's hunted animals.

Al's demise followed the disappearance of Father Rudy, who was believed kidnapped by members of the military intelligence. Father Rudy's case had caught the attention of the international community, which until now has not stopped helping find him.

I was at Henrick's wake at the Sacred Heart Church the other day, which turned into a gathering of martial law journalists and colleagues of Henrick. Among them were lawyer John Cane, then a reporter of the now defunct Republic News, where I started writing Straight Jab; Anol Mongaya of Super Balita, Sun-Star columnist Bong Wenceslao; Junex Doronio (formerly with Bandera), a Cebuano journalist now based in Manila; RPN 9 manager Bong Aznar and James Arias, Henrick's Alpha Sigma Phi and, yes, Henrick's brother, Bebot Gingoyon, who was then writing for the Freeman. James, who also worked as a reporter at the defunct Cebu Daily Times, had been a fellow political detainee in Dumaguete City.

Getting justice for Henrick might just eventually come to naught, amid perception that the authorities have netted the fall guys. It has always been the case - a result of pressure the authorities have been getting from their superiors or those in power who have been hounded by credibility problem.

This was practically the challenge that Ricardo Cardinal Vidal had hurled at authorities who couldn't positively respond to such cases due to their involvement in extra-judicial killings.

Gingoyon handled sensational cases  
Gingoyon handled sensational cases 
First posted 09:48pm (Mla time) Dec 31, 2005
By Maricar D. Tolosa

Editor's Note: Published on page A4 of the January 1, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

A MAN who lived an apparently checkered life, Henrick F. Gingoyon had been involved in high profile cases in his career as an activist lawyer and judge.

Jan. 4, 2005-He ruled that Piatco can get a deposit of $62.3 million.

June 27, 2002-He ordered the arrest of lawyer Charito Planas of Nayong Pilipino, for allegedly defying a temporary restraining order barring the closure of the theme park. Planas posted bail and the charges were later dropped.

July 2002-He sentenced Indonesian Agus Dwikarna, said to have links to terror leader Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, to up to 17 years in prison for illegal possession of firearms.

August 1998-He was found inside a suspected Pasay sex den raided by the National Bureau of Investigation. He later said he was not a customer but was at the place as a visitor after a friend invited him.

Prior to being named Pasay City judge, Gingoyon was state prosecutor for 10 years.

Among the sensational cases he handled as a prosecutor were the bribery case involving ex-Gen. Dictador Alqueza, the kidnap-slaying of former IBP president Eugene Tan and the shooting of Alvin Vinculado.

Before entering government service, Gingoyon was counsel for leftist groups, such as the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the Kilusang Mayo Uno, in his native Cebu City. He also served as Cebu's secretary general for the Anti-Bases Coalition.
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