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Surigao Rep Pimentel proposes hiring of 3,000 bodyguards for judges

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Following the assassination of another judge, House Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur) renewed his call for the creation of up to 3,000 new positions for armed judicial protection officers.

Pimentel’s remarks came following the recent murder of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court Branch 25 Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez.

“We cannot allow these brazen attacks on judges to go on without a forceful answer,” said Pimentel.

Pimentel stressed that judges “deserve strong protection, considering that they have become increasingly vulnerable to aggression and violence, presumably from disgruntled and hateful litigants.”

Bañez, 54, was ambushed by unidentified assailants late Tuesday afternoon.

The judge was on his way home on board his Hyundai Accent in Barangay Mameltac, San Fernando City, La Union when he was gunned down.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Judge Bañez, and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel earlier backed Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta’s initiative to establish a new protective service patterned after the United States Marshals Service’s (USMS) Judicial Security Division (JSD).

In the US set-up, the USMS’s JSD protects judges and justices, guards court proceedings and conferences, and secures buildings and properties used by members of the judiciary.

The division also conducts “protective investigations” of potential security threats to members of the judiciary.

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