Henrick Gingoyon
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Justice Under Fire by Vincent Michael Borneo  
Dec 6 2010
(Institute for War & Peace Reporting)

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima turned gun enthusiast is reiterating her call for judges and prosecutors to be allowed to arm themselves.

She spoke out at the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines Invitational Shoot fest in Quezon City on December 4 when the country’s legal fraternity also began to receive specialized security training on evasive driving.

Her call comes on the back of ongoing targeting of judges lawyers and prosecutors by killers. Two judges were gunned down this year in Northern Luzon alone while a recent attempt was made to kidnap Cagayan De Oro City Prosecutor Irene Meso.

With a reported 46 extrajudicial killings (EJK) against the legal profession the Philippines currently ranks as the third most dangerous nation for lawyers and judges after Colombia (278) and Iraq (210) based on media reports and the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) a group of lawyers law students and paralegals.

“Colombia is a battle zone of drug cartels and Iraq has been a war zone since 2003. That explains the high numbers of lawyers and judges killed in those countries” Atty. Edre Olalia NUPL secretary general said in an interview with Target EJK.

“It is quite alarming though for the Philippines to have lawyers and judges to be EJK targets. Lawyers and judges - more particularly those who are also advocates of social change – those who are one of the most articulate instruments in society against basic injustice.”

Based on news reports the NUPL database and Supreme Court records Target EJK estimates that 26 lawyers and 20 judges have been summarily killed over the past decade. Another 49 others have been attacked.

Deadly ambition: justice

The following lawyers were slain in relation to their work:

  1. Atty. Juvy Magsino of Naujan Mindoro Oriental vice-mayor and Bayan Muna member and her companion human rights worker Leima Fortu were killed on Februari 13 2004 in Barangay Amuguis Naujan Mindoro Oriental.
  2. Atty. Victoria Mangapit-Sturch of Baguio City was stabbed six times by an unknown assailant in September 2003. She survived that attack. But on April 13 2004 Sturch was shot dead while she was waiting for a ride on Harrison Road.
  3. Atty. Arbet Sta. Ana-Yongco was shot dead in Cebu City on Oktober 11 2004. She was the lead private prosecutor in the celebrated case of cult leader and now Dinagat Islands Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. who is accused of killing his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo in Januari 2002.
  4. Atty. Versim Enad a former mayor was shot dead in front of MEJ Burger House Panabo City on November 18 2004.
  5. Atty. Edgar Calizo Sr. was shot dead by two unidentified men in Kalibo Aklan on November 22 2004. He suffered 17 gunshot wounds. He was the defense counsel in the Boracay killings of a German a Swiss a Briton and a Filipina in Mei 2004.
  6. Atty. Reuel Dalguntas and his nephew Garry Hopilena both of Davao City were killed in an ambuscade allegedly by “Davao Death Squad” men on motorcycles on Februari 5 2005 Dalguntas handled cases of slain former Panabo City mayor and lawyer Versim Enad who was killed in November 2004.
  7. Atty. Teresita Vidamo Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO) chief in Las Piñas City was shot dead in her L-300 van in Casimiro Village Pulang Lupa on Februari 9 2005.
  8. On Mei 8 2005 Atty. Ambrosio Matias and his son Leonard Matias a 23-year-old law student were shot dead by unidentified men inside a hut near General Luna High School compound in La Union. Matias was a counsel for peasant organizations in Central Luzon and Municipal Coordinator for the party-list group Anakpawis (Toiling Masses).
  9. Atty. Norman Bocar regional chairman of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in Eastern Visayas was gunned down allegedly by soldiers on September 1 2005 in Borongan Eastern Samar province in the Visayas after an inter-agency meeting in the Provincial Tourism Office.
  10. Atty. Victor Padilla husband of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla was shot in the head by one of several men who entered his house in Sampaloc Manila on September 6 2005. He was handling sensitive cases including a case for child support against a wealthy businessman.
  11. Atty. Felidito Dacut member of the Board of Directors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in Leyte and Bayan Muna party-list lawyer in Eastern Visayas was gunned down inside a public utility passenger vehicle in Tacloban City Leyte on Maart 14 2005.
  12. Atty. Eugenia Vinluan Campol a PAO lawyer in Baguio City was gunned down by unidentified men while she was on her way to her car near the University of Baguio in September 2005.

    Atty. Campol was the lead counsel for a complaint for abuse of authority and oppression filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against then Boliney town vice-mayor Dominador Sianen in Abra Province. The complainant was Campol’s husband Julius. Police allegedly said that Boliney Meior Ronald Balaoas and his father Benido a former mayor ordered Campol’s murder committed by Bernard Fassong.
  13. On Maart 31 2006 Butuan City prosecutor Godofredo Pacenio Jr. in Agusan del Norte province was on his way home to Buenavista town in a public transport vehicle when another passenger shot him dead.
  14. Atty. Carlo Magno Uminga of the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) in Pangasinan province was gunned down and his wife seriously injured when armed men attacked them on April 14 2006. Uminga had earned the ire of many police officers due to his work with PLEB a government agency prosecuting erring policemen among others.
  15. On Mei 15 2006 Atty. Rogelio Montero and his son Fiscal of San Jose del Monte City Bulacan province just came from a hearing and were looking for a place to have a snack. While alighting from their vehicle unidentified assailants suddenly appeared and pistol-whipped Montero killing him.
  16. On Juni 21 2006 Atty. Evelyn Guballa was killed by motorcycle riding men in Bago Bantay Quezon City.
  17. The former clerk of court of the Malabon Regional Trial Court Fiscal Julio Taloma was murdered in Meycauayan Bulacan province on Juni 26 2006.
  18. Atty. Froilan Villacorta Siobal who was killed with his wife Erlinda in Inerangan Alaminos City on November 19 2006 when they were blocked about a kilometer away from their house by gunmen who were a police officer and village watchmen.
  19. Assistant Solicitor General Nestor Ballacillo and his 23-year-old son Benedict were gunned down by two armed men on December 6 2006 while waiting for a passenger bus near their home in Barangay San Antonio Parañaque City. The assailants grabbed Ballacillo's backpack containing legal documents and his wallet.
  20. Atty. Gil Gojol a human rights and labor lawyer was returning to Sorsogon City in the Bicol Region after a court hearing on December 12 2006 when four armed men on motorcycles shot at his van driven by Danilo France. France was killed instantly. Atty. Gojol tried to flee but was shot in the buttocks. He fell on his face and was shot in the head. He died from four gunshot wounds.

    Gojol and France were killed about 200 meters away from an army detachment of the 22nd Infantry Battalion in San Ignacio Gubat Sorsogon.
  21. Atty. Demetrio Hilbero 70 was killed on Juni 16 2007 in Real village Calamba City Laguna as he was about to open the gate of his law office near the public market.
  22. On Juni 17 2007 Atty. Luis Dote of the Public Attorney’s Office in Mandaon Masbate province was on board a passenger van from Mandaon when the suspects shot him upon reaching Maingaran village in Masbate City.
  23. Atty. Alejo Dojillo deputy Ombudsman of San Fabian Pangasinan was aboard a tricycle on his way to a bus terminal when he was shot by men aboard a motorcycle on September 10 2007.
  24. Atty. Rebecca Manuel-Basa and her lady client in a marriage annulment proceeding were shot to death by a professional killer inside the courtroom of RTC Branch 199 (Family Court) of Las Pinas City on November 15 2007.
  25. Atty. Concepcion Brizuela NUPL national treasurer and counsel for the Mangudadatu political clan was among the 58 civilians killed in the Ampatuan Maguindanao massacre on November 23 2009.
  26. Atty. Cynthia Oquendo also of the NUPL perished with her father Catalino Oquendo Jr. in the Ampatuan Maguindanao massacre.

Activist lawyers public defenders are targets

According to the NUPL lawyers who advocate social change are often targeted. Lawyers Magsino Gojol Bocar Matias and Dacut for instance were over time first subjected to surveillance labelled demonized as communists and then shot dead – some believe by military agents.

“The climate of impunity – and I wish to refrain from using "culture of impunity" because Filipinos have a long history that has demonstrated that they will not allow oppression and repression to go unabated and without ultimate responsibility – is specifically borne and engendered by the so-called counterinsurgency programs like Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch) that do not distinguish civilians and civilian populations from the armed groups that the government considers ‘Enemies of the State’: This can help explain why we lawyers and even court officials become EJK targets too” Atty. Olalia said.

Judges are not spared

  1. Judge Celso Lorenzo Sr. of the RTC Branch 1 in Borongan Eastern Samar was shot dead on November 1 1999.
  2. Judge Hassan Ibnohajil of RTC Branch 45 in San Jose Occidental Mindoro was killed in Februari 5 2001.
  3. Judge Geminiano Eduardo of the municipal trial courts (MTC) of Jaen Penaranda and Gapan towns in Nueva Ecija was gunned down by motorcycle riding gunmen near Gapan on Juni 11 2001. Eduardo died from bullet wounds.
  4. Judge Ariston Rubio of RTC Branch 17 in Batac Ilocos Norte was killed in Oktober 31 2001.
  5. Judge Eugenio Valles of RTC Branch 3 in Nabunturan town Compostela Valley was killed on April 25 2002. Valles was gunned down by motorcycle-riding assassins while jogging along the provincial road.
  6. Judge Oscar Gaby Uson of RTC Branch 52 in Tayug Pangasinan was killed on September 27 2002.
  7. Judge Pinera Biden of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MTC) of Kabugao Apayao province was killed on Mei 17 2003.
  8. Judge Paterno Tiamson of Branch 69 of the Binangonan Regional Trial Court in Rizal was stabbed to death on Februari 21 2004 by unidentified assailants.
  9. Five bullets felled Judge Milnar Lammawin of Branch 25 of the Tabuk Regional Trial Court in Kalinga on April 9 2004 while he was buying bread.
  10. Judge Voltaire Rosales of the RTC of Tanauan in Batangas was gunned down by two unidentified men on motorcycles in Juni 10 2004. He handled heinous crime cases.
  11. Judge Estrellita Paas of the Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 44 was stabbed to death in her home in Natividad Pangasinan on September 23 2005.                                                                                                           
  12. Judge Henrick Gingoyon of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) was killed on December 31 2005 in Bacoor Cavite.
  13. Judge Sahara Silongan of RTC Branch 15 in Cotabato City was slain by motorcycle-riding gunmen on December 2 2006. Silongan was Cotabato City administrator in the late 1990s and was also a former member of the Maguindanao provincial board.
  14. Judge Nathaniel Pattugalan of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 35 survived an attempt on his life in Oktober 2005 when he was assigned to the Metropolitan Trial Court in Baggao Cagayan. But on Januari 19 2007 Pattugalan was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle in Quezon City. He had reportedly issued arrest warrants for several policemen and a local politician in Buguey Cagayan.
  15. Judge Orlando Velasco of RTC Branch 63 in Bayawan City Negros Oriental was killed on Juli 25 2007.
  16. Judge Roberto Navidad of RTC Branch 32 in Calbayog City Samar was killed on Januari 14 2008 after buying his medicines at a local drugstore.
  17. Judge Philip Labastida of the San Juan Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) who was found dead with several stab wounds in his Quezon City house last December 7 2008.
  18. Judge Erasto Salcedo former presiding judge of Tagum City RTC Branch 31 was shot dead as he was leaving the Tagum City Sports Complex parking area at around on Juli 26 2009.
  19. Judge Andres Cipriano of the RTC Branch 9 in Aparri Cagayan was shot dead on Mei 18 2010 as he was about to enter his rented room.
  20. Vigan Ilocos Sur RTC Branch 20 Judge Reynaldo Lacasandile was shot to death while waiting for a bus ride to his court on Oktober 3 2010

“Judges unlike lawyers and most particularly human rights or people's lawyers have really not been specifically targeted mainly for political reasons. Most of the cases of attacks against judges were a result of the practice of their profession. When the avenues for peaceful redress are not made available or are ineffective and no other speedy proper and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law in the eyes of the losing party is available then this extreme recourse happens in a number of instances” Olalia said.

A case in point is that of Judge Henrick Gingoyon who had been involved in high profile cases as an activist lawyer and judge. He had sentenced Generoso Cuneta the son of former Pasay Meior Pablo Cuneta and brother of actress Sharon Cuneta to life imprisonment for malversation of public funds in December 2003 and handled the expropriation case over the mothballed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 between the government and a Filipino-German consortium among many other high profile cases.

Before joining government he was counsel of the militant Kilusang Meio Uno (KMU) and headed the anti-bases coalition in Cebu.

Before he was killed he had received many death threats.

“The prevailing climate of impunity emanates from the lack of accountability of the perpetrators for the longest time giving them the clear signal that they can be brazen about these violations and get away with it nay even get praised promoted or coddled by the State and its national leadership and security officials who through inaction default acquiescence tolerance and worse through inducement or even tacit approval or devious design are complicit in these acts” Atty. Olalia said.

It is a sordid fact in the Philippines that when a litigant – rightly or wrongly – gets frustrated about the fairness of a court decision in a controversy these attacks on judges may happen. But there are also quite a number of incidents where the political and economically powerful deliver the message that they are above the law by attacking judges betraying their contempt for what is harped as the rule of law.

The Judiciary has in fact done practicable measures to raise security in and around courthouses conducting security trainings among their personnel and providing mechanisms and exemptions for judges to carry firearms. Under current court rules firearms are disallowed inside courtrooms as even policemen who escort defendants to court for their arraignment are barred from bringing their guns into the court salas.

“These measures do some help. But the fact is that not one case – wherein the suspects and mastermind of each lawyer and judge killed has been brought to justice – has been solved” Olalia said.

For Filipino lawyers there is no deadline for justice. The legal profession is and always will be under attack if the climate of impunity tolerated by successive administrations is not finally tackled by the Aquino government.

As Concepcion Brizuela said at the time she herself felt under threat: “If they can attack lawyers and judges then they can attack anybody.”

Brizuela was one of two lawyers killed in the Ampatuan Maguindanao massacre. Project Target EJK/ED

(The author writes and researches on human rights issues in the Philippines.)

Dossier: Honorable in Life, Noble in Death  
A homily given during the wake mass.
by: Fr. Aloysius Cartagenas

TONIGHT we honor a man every Cebuano should cherish and every human being should be proud of.

We honor him with a celebration of the Eucharist a celebration of thanksgiving.

We thank God not because of his cruel death in the hands of executioners. We rather thank Him because Judge Henrick has died so that poor will not always have to lose the innocent will not always have to die and the victims of injustice will not always have to suffer.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ if there is one message that the death of Judge Henrick would like to remind us all tonight it is this:
lives that reached the greatest heights of human quality and meaning have those lived for a cause greater than ourselves.

Which reminds us that human life is aimed at something more than consumption and presumption and at something beyond useful and the practical.

The culture which now pervades our society tends to make us believe that all our attention would be better employed it it were dedicated to acquiring the latest of clothes and cars or even the underwear that one or other celebrity wears or patronizes.

It is the same culture that also tends to make us believe that money and power can buy everything even the noble cause of injustice and equality in the eyes of the law.

It is the same culture that also tends to proclaim that  it is all right to kill a criminal or a lawyer a convict or a judge if one or the other is an obstacle to someone else's economic prosperity or political security.

It is a culture where good lawyers and judges are becoming anomalies while vigilantes and assassins are fast becoming heroes.

It is in the darkness of this pervading culture that the life of the man whose death  we mourn tonight must be celebrated for his is a life offered at the service of a noble cause and a death in the name of a divine project.

In this sense Judge Henrick did not only fulfill the Sunday duty of going to mass. Rather he lived the mass everyday or better still he tried to live and put into practice through his profession what the Eucharist is all about.

And that is by offering his own body and blood so that his life will become bread for those who hunger for justice and wine for those who thirst for decency.

Judge Henrick may not have done so perfectly because human as we all are limitations and defect are inevitable. But he did try to follow the footsteps of His Lord and Savior. And  he is now face to face with him the Supreme Judge of all whose cause has consumed the life of our friend until death.

Mei the Judge of all judges welcome his beloved son our beloved brother.

Over the dead body of Judge Henrick let his love ones mourn for they have lost a family man a father and a friend but let them rejoice forever  for the gift that he had been to them and to the nation.

Over his dead body let a thousand more courageous Judges and Lawyers bloom to usher the springtime of injustice in our judiciary.

And over his dead body let history's executioners agonize that their evil machinations will not triumph over their innocent victims. Amen
DAIL STAR (Opinion Section) -- Twinkling by Ninfa Leonardia  
My, what quick work! In only three days, nine suspects have already been arrested for the murder of Judge Henrick Gingoyon of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City. So it can be done. Why couldn't it have been that way, too in the murder of Bubby Dacer and so many others that remain unsolved until now? But why nine? Were there that many who have grudges against the judge, or is it only that the arresting officers believe there is safety in numbers?


One can't blame a lot of Filipinos for raising their eyebrows. This is, of course, a high-profile case, with everybody, from the top of all government branches - executive, legislative, judicial - agitating for its solution. But perhaps the family of the late judge are also of the same thinking as the ordinary Filipino. When suspicions were aired that those arrested could only be "fall guys", one of the daughters of Judge Gingoyon said "we want justice for dad, not injustice to other people." Their dad must have given his children the proper values, as these words show.
Gingoyon murder case hits delays (The Freeman)  

** This was published on page 2 of  The Freeman on July 24, 2006.

    The trial of the suspects for the murder of Pasay City Judge Henrick Gingoyon, who was killed late December, is yet to start.

    This despite it has been nearly seven months since the Cavite provincial prosecutor charged four suspects for murder.

    Beatrice, the judge’s widow, expressed her disappointment about prosecution foot-dragging in a talk to The Freeman yesterday.

 In a January 19 resolution, Cavite provincial prosecutor Elmer C. Madriaga charged Rodolfo Cuer, Jr., Rudy Baclor, Mark Datas and Sahid Sulaiman for murder on the killing of Gingoyon on December 31 last year.

        There were no John Does on the charge sheet but a report prepared by the Special Investigation Task Group Gingoyon mentioned “several John Does” as alleged accessories to the killing.

        National Bureau of Investigation chief Ruel S. Bolivar and regional chief Police Supt. Gil Blando Lebin, Jr. signed the special investigation task force report that was presented to Cavite’s provincial prosecutor on January 4.

        The four accused are detained and have entered a plea of “not guilty” when arraigned on March 17. Beatrice said a pre-trial was set on May 26 but was reportedly postponed because witnesses were not present.

        The pre-trial, which was reset to June 24, was also postponed once again because the prosecutor was indisposed.

Beatrice did not show up in court when it was reset again on July 10. The next schedule is on August 2.

        Gingoyon’s case has been raffled out to Judge Eduardo I. Tanguanco of RTC Branch 89 in Bacoor, Cavite, which is said to be one of heaviest docketed courts handling about 1,000 cases.

        The case is docketed as criminal case number 13-2006-87 and was acknowledged as received 3:50 p.m. of January 30.

        From sworn extra-judicial confessions, statements and special investigation reports, prosecutor Madriaga wrote that Cuer shot Gingoyon from the back while he was on his way home from a workout at Body Tone Fitness Gym in Bacoor, Cavite at about 12:15 in the afternoon of Dec. 31, 2005.

        The gym is approximately 100 meters from Gingoyon’s residence.

        The gunman reportedly shot Gingoyon from a distance of “15 arms length” and when he saw the judge crumple from the first shot, he then “pumped two or three more bullets at him.”

        Cuer then boarded the motorcycle that Datas, known for the alias of “Mac-mac,” drove and sped away.

        Wrote Madriaga, “we resolve that the extra-judicial confession of Baclor clearly establishes the conspiracy among and participation of Baclor, Cuer, Datas and Sulaiman in the plot and killing of Judge Henrick Gingoyon on Dec. 31 at Soldiers Hill, Barangay Molino 6, Bacoor, Cavite.”

        The prosecutor found “no question on the admissibility of Baclor’s confession” because he was assisted with competent counsel and that his statement were corroborated with sworn statements.

     All four accused denied the charges against them in different counter affidavits arguing that “there is no iota of evidence of conspiracy among them.” Cuer said the charges against him are fabricated and that he was arrested without a warrant. Under detention, Baclor said he was tortured and coerced into confessing to the crime charged. Datas and Sulaiman said they were in different places at the time of the killing. Sulaiman said he was arrested without a warrant and that he was subjected to “various torture” to confess that he was the mastermind of the murder.

   The PNP’s Special Investigation Task Group Gingoyon stated in their January 4 report that the alleged assailants were hired by “somebody” in the amount of P150,000. — Ruth G. Mercado

By Jhunnex Napalacan
PDI/Visayas Edition.  
CEBU CITY----IN THE END SLAIN JUDGE Henrick Gingoyon got what he had always wished for---- an untarnished name and reputation for integrity up to the time of his death.
    A source close to the family said that Gingoyon"s siblings were taking his death calmly because they knew that the judge"s goal in life was fulfilled.
    Gingoyon, a former human rights lawyer wanted to help the country by dispensing fair justice while keeping his name unblemished and his integrity and credibility intact.
    "He's worried that his name would be tarnished. He showed displeasure when (any) colleague in the judiciary was being questioned. That"s why, if he had to go he wanted to keep his integrity intact because he really valued his name," the source said.
    The source recalled being on a beach in Talisay City with the judge when Gingoyon was still a prosecutor and watching a man who was unable to walk being assisted by two persons.
    The source said Gingoyon told him that he did not want to be an invalid because he wanted to serve the country until the last moments of his life.
    "I think he was able to fulfill that because he really died for not compromising his principles. He stood upo to defend the justice system of the country." the source said.
    Gingoyon"s ailing mother, Conchita, 84, was told of her son"s death on Sunday during an emotional meeting with the rest of Gingoyon family on Urgello Street in Barangay Sambag Uno here.
    One of Conchita"s grandchildren who asked not to be named said her lola did not want to talk about her son's death.

Bitter Times?  
Published in Sun Star
By Anol Mongaya

The wake of the late Judge Henrick Gingoyon at the Sacred Heart Church chapel was a reunion of sorts for activists who once worked with him decades ago when he was still a human rights lawyer.

The idealism and courage that fired up the human rights lawyer then did not fade when he became a judge. I believe Judge Gingoyon is the kind of judge our justice system needs if we indeed want justice to prevail.

Unfortunately, his death shows us the determination of the enemies of justice. I hope many more Judge Gingoyons will emerge to take his place although many friends are not that optimistic.

Murder suspect is a top PNP official  

Cremation awaits body of labor group's champion  
Cremation awaits body
of labor groups' champion

Published: 8 January 2006

by Leah May Lim-Atienza (Sunstar)

PRIOR to his death in December last year, Judge Henrick Gingoyon told wife Maribeth that he wanted to be cremated and the urn containing his ashes enshrined in their Cavite home.

Little did Maribeth know, they would soon adhere to her husband's request.

In an interview with Cebu Daily News yesterday, Maribeth said the family would place the urn of the slain judge's ashes on top of a table in their house's entryway.

"In our house, when you open the door, you will face a wall with a flowered ornamental mirror. There is a console table there and that is where I will place the urn because I want to see him always," Maribeth said.

She said the judge had, at one time or another, the last time being in December last year, mentioned how he wanted his remains to be treated upon his death.

Gingoyon's widow said it had always been his wish for his ashes to be placed inside the home he built for his family away from Cebu, his home province.

The late judge's remains will be cremated today at the Rolling Hills Memorial Chapels in Banilad, Mandaue City after a mass at 10 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Chapel in Cebu City.

Maribeth said Rolling Hills was supposed to give them a wooden urn for free, but the family opted to purchase one made of metal-the best urn that money could buy.

"We want only the best for him because this is the last thing that we could give him. What he has given us could never be paid with any price," she said.

Last night, a necrological service was held after a 6 p.m. liturgical mass to pay tribute to the late judge.

Members of Gingoyon's immediate family, his brothers and sisters, his friends and colleagues from Cebu and Manila, as well as his staff, who came all the way from Pasay City, participated in the service.
"I didn't expect them to come all this way because I already gave them time to be with him in Manila. But they still came," Maribeth said.

She said court employees, as well as some of the family's friends and neighbors in Manila, had to endure changes in flight plans and increases in fare rates just to attend the service and pay their last respects to the judge before his cremation.

"They told me that they are willing to be with the judge wherever he goes. The judge's interpreter, who is poor, wanted so much to come, but she did not have enough money. Had I known beforehand, I would have given her money for her fare," Maribeth said.

Pasay City court employees and prosecutors held a vigil last night after the service.

At last night's necrological service, Winnie Badayos, of labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, recalled how the judge had saved his life after armed men wanted to abduct him over a labor dispute.

He said Gingoyon allowed him and his family to stay in a room in his home office for more than a year.

Badayos said the judge had such a firm dedication in helping oppressed workers that he not only offered his services for free but even paid for the workers' fares on the way to hearings.

Julian Libato, one of Gingoyon's former clients in a labor dispute, recalled how the judge had bailed him and five others out by putting on the line his being a lawyer.

Libato, who remembered the former labor lawyer as sympathetic to the rights of workers to the point that he sat in picket lines, said the judge would forever remain alive for them, vowing to continue what he had started.

Jaime Paglinawan, Bayan regional chairman, said Gingoyon must have been the only lawyer who gave fare money to his clients and brought a typewriter with him wherever he went so he could type motions.

Gingoyon's eldest daughter, Hazel Beth, said the tribute of militant group leaders made the family happier than the visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The other night, members of the Free Legal Assistance Group paid tribute to the slain judge and read a manifesto condemning his murder and calling for an end to the killing of lawyers and judges.

The group's officials said they would send the manifesto to Malacaסang.

With a report from Correspondent Jhunnex Napallacan

Gingoyon: A man of courage, principle  
Gingoyon: A man
of courage, principle

Published: 8 January 2006

by Democrito C. Barcenas

LONG before his death in the hands of a brutal assassin on Dec. 31, 2005, in Bacoor, Cavite, Regional Trial Court Judge Henrick Gingoyon was already "canonized."

As a fearless labor lawyer and activist during the darkest years of the Marcos dictatorship, Henrick, always active in mass actions, got the taste of being bombarded by water cannons.

Henrick was recruited by the Free Legal Assistance Group in the early 1980s by Meinrado Paredes, then FLAG regional coordinator for Region 7 and currently RTC judge of Cebu City.

FLAG, founded in the early years of martial rule by Sen. Jose W. Diokno, was at the forefront of defending political detainees, displaced urban poor, and other marginalized sectors of society.

I remember Henrick as a young, handsome and energetic member of FLAG who handled legal cases assigned to him with zeal and enthusiasm.

He was generous, loyal and friendly. But behind the veneer of gentleness was a seething passion to help the poor and the oppressed. His forte was labor problems, and he was one of those who handled the cases of militant Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Henrick endeared himself to his poor clients, whom he served pro bono with utmost dedication. There were times that he was harassed by the Marcos military with intimidation, attempts on his life, and filing of false accusation through perjured witnesses.

But he always persevered. I know that his efforts contributed to the ultimate downfall of the Marcos dictatorship.

After the Edsa People Power Revolution in February 1986, Henrick joined the new government of Corazon Aquino as a prosecutor, with assignments in Canlaon City and Mandaue City.

He was subsequently appointed as state prosecutor at the Department of Justice, and a few years later, he was appointed Regional Trial Court judge of Pasay City.

As a member of the judiciary, Henrick was known for his probity, integrity and courage in deciding controversial and high-profile cases.

He had the opportunity to decide the celebrated Philippine International Air Terminals Corp. (PIATCo) case, where he directed the government to pay P3 billion to the company before it could operate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

Henrick's star in the judicial firmament shone with effulgence when his decision in the Piatco case was upheld by the Supreme Court.

When Henrick was brutally murdered by a treacherous assassin near his residence in Bacoor, Cavite on Dec. 31, his family, friends, relatives, and colleagues in the FLAG were shocked and outraged.

Here was a man in the prime of his life, barely 53 years old, healthy and vibrant, highly principled and honest, a victim of the culture of violence that spawned unsolved murders, assassinations, summary executions of suspected criminals, and killings of political activists.

Here was a loving husband and dedicated family man gunned down in broad daylight, the latest victim in the never-ending cycle of violence, lawlessness, and crime that has engulfed our country.

Must the government allow more offerings of innocent lives before it stops this national madness.

FLAG salutes Judge Henrick Gingoyon for his principles and courage. We share with the sorrow of his widow, Maribeth, and their children.

Yet, to die young has its own advantage. In the stirring words of Jacqueline Kennedy when her young husband was murdered in 1963:

"I must believe that he does not share our suffering now. I think for him at least he will never know whatever sadness might have lain ahead. He knew such a share of it in his life that it always made you so happy whenever you saw him enjoying himself. But now he will never know more-not age, nor stagnation, nor despair, nor crippling illness, nor loss of any more people he loved. His high noon kept all the freshness of the morning and he died then, never knowing disillusionment."

(The author is the spokesman for Region 7 of the Free Legal Assistance Group.)

GMA assures swift justice for slain judge  

CEBU CITY — President Arroyo yesterday assured the family of slain Pasay City Judge Henrick Gingoyon, 53, that she would use all her powers to bring to justice the brains behind the murder of the Cebuano judge.

President Arroyo, who made a short visit at the wake of Judge Gingoyon at the chapel of the Sacred Heart Center on D. Jakosalem Street yesterday afternoon, condoled with the family of the slain judge and promised them that they will soon get justice.

"We commit to dig deep into the motive of the murder and bring to the bar of justice the brains behind the crime," Arroyo said, in response to the request of Gingoyon’s daughter, Hyacinth, through Internet messaging.

Hyacinth, who is in the US, requested the President for law enforcement units in the country to do all they can to solve the murder.

Hyacinth said that if the government fails to provide justice to her father, she expressed fears that more judges will soon become victims of crimes.

The family of Judge Gingoyon flew his remains here last Thursday, as his friends and relatives waited, amid the grim news that it had cost only R150,000 to order the judge’s killing. Gingoyon’s body will be cremated tomorrow and the ashes flown back to Manila.

Gingoyon would have turned 54 in May.

Wearing a black shirt to show her sympathy to the family of Gingoyon, Mrs. Arroyo held a private talk with the judge’s widow, Maribeth, who has refused to talk about the circumstances of Henrick’s fate to the media.

Cebu South District Rep. Antonio Cuenco, who was present during the talk, said the President and Maribeth talked about giving justice to the slain judge as the President promised the judge’s widow that she will stretch her powers to arrest those behind the killing and determine the motive of the crime.

Cuenco said Maribeth expressed her gratitude to President Arroyo for her visit and thanked her for the assurance of swift justice.
Meanwhile, the Cebu City council, in a resolution, said there is a "paramount need to expedite the resolution" of the case of Judge Gingoyon and the killings of other judges which have remained unsolved.

Vice Mayor Michael Rama and the city councilors also paid tribute to Gingoyon as a "no-nonsense regional trial court judge" who wasn’t afraid to take on high-profile cases.

Meanwhile, a councilor described the University of the Visayas alumnus as "a prominent human rights advocate during the dark days of martial law."

Gingoyon’s death, the councilor said, is a big loss not only to his family but also to the judiciary, which is "mandated to ensure that the rule of law, instead of guns, will reign in our country."
Two motorcycle-riding men gunned down Gingoyon while he was walking home from a gym in Molino, Bacoor in Cavite, last New Year’s Eve.

Several suspects were arrested in separate police raids last Tuesday.

arming judges will not stop the killing of judges.  

Blind and toothless

“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave the world blind and toothless.”  
                                                                           -  Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof

For once, I agree with Raul Gonzales—arming judges will not stop the killing of judges.

It is difficult to agree with the utterly illogical statement of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban reminding judges that they can arm themselves.  This, in the wake of the killing of Judge Henrick Gingoyon, a former FLAG lawyer from cebu who had to relocate to Manila after his and his family’s safety and security were threatened by the military for his uncompromising stand against human rights abuses.

Giving a judge a gun is not the answer to the violence that sweeps the country now.   That it is the Chief Justice of the Philippines saying this bodes ill for all of us.

Neither is the reimposition of the death penalty the solution.  The il-logic behind this is that had the State continued to execute people, Henrick Gingoyon would still be alive today.  The il-logic behind this is that had the State continued to kill people after January 4, 2000, many of the victims of rape, kidnapping, drugs, murders would not have been victimized.  


Ka’ Celing and Henrick by Rene Saguisag  

By Rene Saguisag
‘Ka’ Celing and Henrick

TWENTY years after EDSA, we have no one among our top leaders in the executive, legislative and judicial departments, anybody who was there from 1972 to 1986. It is as if EDSA has been rejected totally by our people, a scant 20 years later.

Is there a new Ka Celing Palma, the Boholana-Batangueña, on the horizon? Or a Henrick Gingoyon, the Cebuano who was with us in the human-rights and antibases movement? In January 2001, after the walkout of the prosecutors, she urged the correct solution: for the infidels to resume the impeachment trial. She knew better than to rely on the Bible to solve a secular problem. But, Chief Justice Jun Davide would not even take her calls knowing that she would stand for the rule of law, as always. If he had told her about the supposed biblical injunction, he might have been told by Ka Celing, a devout Catholic, not to rely on political superstition. President Cory Aquino & Co. have long repented and recanted and made amends. Ka Celing and Sen. Turing Tolentino told me we had become a banana republic and encouraged me to go to the Supreme Court (a gross mistake, I now see).

On December 27, 2005, Henrick heard our argument for the release of a detainee, my kind of people, particularly during the holidays. On New Year’s Eve I went to visit someone in jail (not a client) only to see a boy, 15, who had stolen three cans of sardines when he was 14, mixed with adults. What rot?

Ka Celing and Henrick are gone, replaced by pretenders. Some of them were in the constitutional Consultative Commission, which took out full-page ads in the leading broadsheets. Who spent for them? The screwed taxpayer again?

One piquant point of the clique is that we should have no polls in 2007 as the credible institutions are not in place. This is one way of saying that GMA and Noli in fact won so incredibly in 2004 that we cannot have the Abaloses and Garcis run the election again in 2007. But, nothing is done to censure or punish them, who so damaged the process GMA’s handpicked Consultants say we cannot afford another incredible election in 2007.

Remember the boy who once pled for clemency for being an orphan having murdered his folks? Maybe we should settle for the Abaloses and Garcis.

Else, GMA may pick even worse types such as Roque Bello, a summa cum laude where Garci is but a cum.

Yes, unctuously, the commissioners concerned said “no-el” in 2007 is needed “because the necessary institutions for credible elections might not be in place by then. It would be divisive and costly to hold the election so soon after the national plebiscite on the proposed constitutional reforms. Our Consultative Commission only recommends changes in the Constitution. It is Congress as a constituent assembly that will make the final proposals to the people.”

GMA made polls incredible by naming Ben Abalos down to Garci and misusing government resources and personnel (e.g., Bolante). By ignoring an elected Convention, the Consultants also confirmed that they are not a voice, but a mere echo of GMA.

We are truly lahing alipin and merit having our country renamed Alipinas, land of slaves. But, Sen. Eddie Ilarde has proposed Maharlika, land of nobles. There is some debate on what Maharlika truly means so I say we include ladrones, mentirosos, timadores y estafadores en este mundo traidor, in choosing a new name befitting a country of liars, cheats and thieves. But, that would be unfair to the Ka Celings and Henricks.

I last saw Ka Celing on October 17 in her deteriorated condition in her abode in New Manila, where you could see an honest woman. Her home had clearly seen better days. Some we honor in death had far less distinction but had nice homes and the best medical care here and abroad not available to those with integrity who can only dream. Gen. Eduardo Garcia, a PC chief, died in an apartment in 1972. His counterparts today? We admire Ka Celing and Henrick partly because honesty and integrity were their middle names and because of their sensible ideas.

Another senseless one of the consultants is a clause that no law shall be passed abridging the “responsible exercise” of the freedoms to speak and protest, which is like saying “reasonable exercise.”  Shaw said that the reasonable man adjusts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adjusts the world to himself. Thus, he concluded, all progress depends on unreasonable people. It is another way of saying we need more of the likes of Ka Celing and Henrick who asked the foolish questions of the day, challenging assumed first premises. Let us follow the stars they did.

Meantime, to save money maybe we should have no-el in 2007. Costs are something. To save whatever shred of integrity we have left, GMA, Noli and the Comelec commissioners should all resign, and let us have elections now and hang the costs! Values are everything. We need a credible closure.

Ducky Paredes' Column (01.05.06)  
There is more to the Judge Henrick Gingoyon assassination than what we now know. My guess is that the suspects arrested by the police are probably fall guys. They may have been arrested just to show that the police are doing something about it and, perhaps, to avoid the suspicion that policemen may be involved in the crime. Since the NBI has been assigned the solution of the case, I would rather wait for the NBI’s results rather than immediately believing the solution offered by the Philippine National Police.
Ducky Paredes' Column (01.03.06)  
When a judge is assassinated, just as when a journalist is killed, the usual suspects are those who may have been offended by a ruling of the judge or a report of the journalist. In the case of Pasay City RTC Judge Henrick Gingoyon, the only judgment that the general public knows about is the Piatco case where the Supreme Court had given Gingoyon 30 days, which is until sometime in January 2006 to set the amount that the government has to pay before it can operate Terminal 3 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Thus, it is imperative that the ones behind the perpetrators be found; otherwise the prime suspect would be the government itself. Perhaps, someone very high up had told him how to rule on the case and Gingoyon instead went with the Law. It would be wrong for the citizenry to suspect that the government itself would kill its own judge for purely political purposes. Thus, the government should get cracking and get to the bottom of that assassination. Or else, the government itself stands accused in the minds of many.
'Judges walk with one foot on the grave'  
First posted 02:03am (Mla time) Jan 05, 2006
By Marlon Ramos

Editor's Note: Published on Page A13 of the January 5, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

IT may take a while before Maribeth Gingoyon resumes her early morning jogs on weekends. Maribeth, 51, has lost her favorite jogging partner-her husband, Pasay City Judge Henrick Gingoyon-who was felled by four assassins' bullets a few hours after taking their usual run on New Year's Eve.

Henrick, a fitness buff, had been her "physical fitness partner" for more than 30 years, she said.

For years, jogging around their neighborhood at Soldiers' Hills Village in Barangay Molino in Bacoor, Cavite, had been their routine on weekends and whenever her husband's busy schedule allowed them to, she said. "He liked to jog and go to the gym after work."

Maribeth had earlier shunned media interviews, refusing to talk about the circumstances of Henrick's fate. She agreed to talk to this writer for a few minutes during the wake of her husband in their house on Jan. 3, moments before police presented the judge's alleged murderer.

Gingoyon's remains will be flown to his hometown
in Cebu City today and will be cremated on Sunday. He left a wife, four daughters-Hazel, 30; Hyacinth, 27; Henriette, 20; and Henrikka, 10-and a son, Henrick Martin Dion, 13.

Nothing unusual

Maribeth said she noticed nothing unusual the day her husband was attacked some 25 meters from their house.

"We ate breakfast, jogged around the subdivision and went home afterwards at about 6:30 a.m. He then took a nap. When he woke up at 10:30 a.m., he told me he would just go to the gym," she said.

The gym, which Gingoyon frequented for years, is just 50 meters away from their house. His children said their father usually went there at around 7 p.m. on weekdays.

Witnesses said a man had been snooping around the place moments before Henrick was shot and killed. Police said the gunman even checked the logbook of the establishment to make sure that his target was inside the gym.

Maribeth said she still could not face the reality that the man she had spent years jogging with is now gone forever.

"He was kind, wala siyang kapalit (he is irreplaceable)," she said, holding back tears.

She said the presence of friends and relatives at the wake was what kept her from crying and thinking about her family's uncertain future.

Dangerous profession

In the entire 30 years of being in the legal profession as a lawyer, prosecutor and judge, Gingoyon never discussed the cases he was handling with his family. Nor did he tell them about threats on his life, Maribeth said.

But he told her that being a judge "is a dangerous profession."

"He used to tell me that judges walk with one foot on the grave. He said receiving threats was just normal for judges," she related.

Maribeth said her husband was never bothered after handing down the decision on the Philippine International Air Terminal Corp. (Piatco) case. He ruled that the national government must pay $63 million to Piatco for taking over the mothballed Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court upholding his decision has "vindicated him," she said.

When asked if she knew that Gingoyon had accused the prime suspect, Senior Supt. Manuel Barcena, of involvement in the shooting of their house almost three years ago, she said she knew that her husband had filed an affidavit with the National Bureau of Investigation.

But she declined to comment when asked if the incident had something to do with the killing of her husband.

Barcena has denied involvement in the murder.

Cool dad

Gingoyon's children said they would be surely missing "the perfect and coolest dad one could ever have."

"I may be biased, but he was really perfect a dad. He was not just a father, he was also a friend to us," Hazel said, sobbing.

Seeing her father inside the coffin is a surreal scene for them, she said. "We still could not accept [his tragic death]," she said.

Henriette said their father was very supportive of their decisions and ambitions.

She said their close ties did not dissuade Gingoyon from agreeing to her and her sister Hazel's plan to move to the United States after her graduation in February.

Another sister, Hyacinth, is now in the US working in a Los Angeles firm. Since Gingoyon's death, the family has been constantly communicating with Hyacinth through the Internet.

Despite being a disciplinarian, Gingoyon always reached out to all his children. Henriette said it was their father who taught them to value family ties.

Hazel said it was their closeness that kept her from leaving their house and settling down.


Henriette said her father's frugality was the one thing that she admired most in him. Despite their relative affluence, their father taught them the value of saving money, she said.

"Actually, pareho sila ni (they are similar) Mommy. They showed us the importance of valuing hard-earned money," she said.

Henriette added that her father preferred to bring home-cooked food to the office rather than eat out during lunchtime.

Even after he was promoted as a regional trial court judge in one of the biggest cities in the country, Gingoyon remained unassuming, she said.

Only a few in the neighborhood knew that he was already a judge, Henriette said. Most of them addressed him as "Attorney."

"But it was OK with him," she said.

One of the neighbors said she was a witness to Gingoyon's humility.

"He would usually greet us and the other neighbors. Naglalakad lang siya dito tulad ng ibang simpleng tao. Kaya nagulat kami sa nangyari sa kanya (He would just walk around here like other simple people. So we were shocked at what happened to him)," the neighbor said.

Henriette said her father also gave legal services and advice to the community free of charge.

He made them understand the importance of respecting other people, especially those who have less in life.

Kind boss

Jonathan Orlino, 33, said the slain judge valued ordinary people.

Working as a utility man in Gingoyon's office for three years, Orlino said he felt like he lost a father and defender.

"Despite his stature, he never looked down at us. We were all equal for him. He was really kind. I cannot even remember him getting angry at any of his staff members," he said.

He described Gingoyon as "a hands-on boss." The judge always saw to it that he attended the monthly meeting with his staff, he said.

Orlino remembered how, in one of those meetings, Gingoyon reminded them that maintaining cleanliness in the office was not just a utility man's job but that of the entire staff, including the judge.

Orlino likewise described his boss as a fun-loving person who was always ready to lend a helping hand.

Hazel said they planned to bring back their father's cremated remains to their house in Bacoor.

"My father used to tell us how he loved this house and how he loved to stay here. So we will bring him back to the house which he referred to as a labor of love," she said.
Judge Gingoyon's remains cremated  
Cebu Daily News
Published: 9 January 2006
by Leah May Lim-Atienza

The remains of slain Pasay City Judge Henrick Gingoyon were cremated Sunday afternoon at the Rolling Hills Memorial Chapel in Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City.

Gingoyon's family, relatives, friends, colleagues and staff from Cebu, Manila and Pasay attended the ceremony, which was preceded by a Holy Mass at the Sacred Heart Chapel around 10:20 a.m. Sunday.

The judge's remains were placed in a hardwood urn supplied by the funeral home. The family, however, intends to transfer the ashes into a brass urn that was being sent over from California, United States by one of the judge's children.

Gingoyon was killed by motorcycle-riding men near his residence in Bacoor town, Cavite province on December 31, 2005.

During the mass and the cremation ceremony, family and relatives continued to wear shirts with the message "We love you Henrick" on the front and "Honorable in Life, Noble in Death" on the back.

Others wore shirts that read "Justice for Judge Henrick Gingoyon."

After the mass, people were allowed to bid the judge a final farewell. Gingoyon's mother, Conchita, took the longest to bid farewell, and almost fainted from grief.

The judge's eldest daughter, Hazel Beth, tearfully thanked everyone who attended the mass and asked everyone to pray for her father and his family.

"I'm sure that dad is happy that you are all here," she said.

A motorcade brought the judge's body to Rolling Hills, where the casket was opened one final time to allow the judge's loved ones to kiss him goodbye.

Gingoyon's widow, Maribeth, along with daughters Hazel and Henriette, gave the judge's body short kisses. On the other hand, Gingoyon's mother, Conchita, could hardly let go of her son's body.

Conchita cried and held on to her eldest son, Jerry, when the casket was closed and brought into the cremation chamber.

The Philippine flag that had covered the judge's casket was briefly held up by four of eight army soldiers who had stood guard by the judge's casket. The other four soldiers saluted.

The flag was folded and given to Maribeth, who in turn gave it to Conchita.

The judge's immediate family were allowed into a private viewing room near the cremation chamber to see the judge's body before it was cremated.

The family, who earlier declined to use the wooden urn provided by the funeral home, on Sunday decided to use the urn temporarily while waiting for the brass urn being sent by Hyacinth, the judge's second daughter, from the US.

The brass urn, the family said, has an etching of Michelangelo's "Pieta" sculpture on it, which depicts the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the dead body of Jesus Christ after He was taken down from the cross.

Gingoyon's family planned to fly back to their home province of Cavite on Monday at 3 p.m. on board a Cebu Pacific flight.

Copyright 2006 Cebu Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FLAG Statement - December 31, 2006

The FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE 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 (computer generated hence unsigned)

SPU Manila sends its deep condolence  

SPU Manila sends its deep condolence to Gingoyon Family
, for the untimely death of the late Pasay City Regional Trial Court Judge Henrick Gingoyon, father of Hazelbeth Gingoyon, Communication Arts Batch '96.

The remains of Judge Gingoyon will be cremated on Sunday, January 8, 2005 in Cebu City
Judge got threats for Piatco decision  

Manila Times
By Sam Mediavilla, Reporter

Murdered Judge Henrick Gingoyon of Pasay City had told a confidant about threats from a government official and a lawyer close to Malacañang to vilify the judge after he made his ruling on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 3 last year, The Manila Times learned Thursday.

A source showed The Times a text message sent to him by Gingoyon on January 14, 2005, the same day that he released his decision ordering the government to pay P2.5 billion to the consortium that built the terminal the government had expropriated.

The Supreme Court last month upheld Gingoyon’s ruling, and police have temporarily ruled out the case as a possible motive for the killing.

Gingoyon was gunned down near his house in Bacoor, Cavite, on December 28.

The text message said that one of Gingoyon’s friends close to the Palace had informed him about the plan to vilify him.

The message, shown to The Times, named the official and the lawyer. It read in part: “The demolition job will attack my morality. They will spread the word that I was caught in a raid on a gay club, and that I’m gay—Henrick.”

Close associates of the judge who attended the necrological services for him Wednesday night told The Times they were sure the murder had something to do with the judge’s decision on NAIA-3.

They said that shortly before his death, Gingoyon was anguishing over what he said was the intimidation from some government officials for his firm stand that the Arroyo administration must pay the consortium Philippine International Air Transport Co., for building the terminal, which has been mothballed.

One associate said Gingoyon mentioned about getting a visit from the same government official on December 21, 2004, a few days before he decided the Piatco case.

The official dropped by in the middle of a Christmas party the judge was celebrating with his staff.

The source said Gingoyon was reluctant to entertain the official because he already knew what the official wanted to discuss. But Gingoyon finally relented and talked with his visitor in private.

In April 2005 Gingoyon went to the United States, staying for almost three months apparently to get away from the pressure following his ruling.

The administration had promised to open NAIA 3 on the second quarter of 2005, but this did not happen, because a member of the consortium, the German firm Fraport AG, filed a case before the International Compensation Court.

The soft-spoken and low-profile judge was appointed by President Fidel Ramos. He served for 10 years with the Department of Justice. He was a Senior State Prosecutor of the DOJ from 1993 to 1997 before he was sent to Branch 117 of the Pasay Regional Trial Court, where he served for eight years until he was murdered.

Elen de los Santos, president of the Philippine Court Employees’ Association, in her interview over Radyo Veritas 846 on Wednesday, recalled that days before he was killed Gingoyon “asked for morale support. Support for what he stands for, what he believes in and help him feel that he was not alone.”

De los Santos was also asked to elaborate on her statement that the seven suspects arrested by the Pasay police were fall guys.

“We have a strong feeling—not only me but also all the other employees here in Pasay—that a more profound issue is behind this, contrary to the holdup men they have arrested, alleged suspects in the killing of Judge Gingoyon,” de los Santos said.

EDITORIAL - Getting away with murder  

EDITORIAL - Getting away with murder
1/2/2006 3:14:27 AM

The year ended with deadly violence as a judge was gunned down in Cavite. Henrick Gingoyon of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court was walking back to his home in Barangay Molino in Bacoor after working out in a nearby gym when he was shot by two men on a motorcycle early in the afternoon of Saturday. He died later in a hospital from multiple gunshot wounds.

Gingoyon, 53, gained national renown recently after he ordered the government to pay P3 billion to the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. as compensation for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. An audit of the NAIA-3 facilities is underway to determine the real value of its assets before the government takes over the terminal from Piatco.

Earlier this year, gunmen had also opened fire at Gingoyon’s house. Investigators are looking into the possibility that a police officer Gingoyon had suspected of involvement in that incident might know something about his killing. Whoever is responsible, the murder of a judge — especially one handling a controversial case watched by the international community — is another blow to a country that is gaining notoriety for the killings of judges as well as lawyers, journalists and activists.

Many of the killings have not been solved. This failure can only embolden those who think murder is the best way to settle scores in this country. The hardest to solve are the hits ordered by persons in power — local political kingpins, military and police officers, even influential gambling barons. When those who commit murder are the same ones tasked to solve the case, how can justice be possible?

In the previous year, the country earned the dubious honor of being the world’s "most murderous place" for journalists. The country must avoid earning a similar tag when it comes to legal professionals. Avoiding that tag can only be possible if murderers are caught, from the triggerman to the brains. As long as there are people who believe they can get away with murder, the killings will not stop.

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