A lawyer who was on his way to a court hearing was shot dead early Tuesday morning by unidentified gunmen along the national road in Barangay Malinao, Narra, marking the second shooting incident in the town in just two weeks.
Narra town mayor Crispin Lumba, in a phone interview also on Tuesday morning, said that the victim, Atty. Eric Jay Magcamit, 36, was on his way to a hearing in Quezon town when he was flagged down by two unidentified suspects who fired upon him that resulted in his instantaneous death around seven o’clock in the morning.
“Nagkataon lang na dito naabutan sa Narra, kasi taga-Aborlan [siya] at papunta siya ng Quezon dahil may hearing siya ng 8:30 a.m.,” Lumba said.
Magcamit was driving his vehicle along the national road at Sitio Caraniogan in Malinao when two unidentified assailants reportedly flagged him down. He was believed to have been shot at close range, his body falling beside his Toyota Innova vehicle. He sustained two gunshot wounds on his right cheek and another on his left leg.
The suspects reportedly fled towards the southern direction after the shooting, according to an initial police investigation.
The Narra police led by P/Maj. Romerico Remo has yet to determine the motive behind the attack.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) – Palawan Chapter condemned the killing, citing the incident as an “attack to the legal order and justice system by means of fear and violence”.
“It is our consistent stand that violence has no place in this civilized society, especially against those in the legal profession who are courageously helping in the administration of justice. This tragic incident is not only an attack to a member of the IBP but also an attack to the legal order and justice system by means of fear and violence. The perpetrators must be swiftly brought into the hands of the law by those in authority,” the IPB statement read.
Magcamit is the 52nd in the legal profession to be killed under the Duterte administration since 2016, and the 2nd shooting incident by unidentified gunmen in Narra town just this November. Roderick Aperocho, chief of Barangay Poblacion in Narra town, Palawan, was also gunned down on November 6 while inside his residence.
Lumba said he will intensify police visibility in Narra that has a population of around 80,000.
“A month ago, bago pa man ang nangyaring pamamaril kay Kapitan Aperocho ay nagrequest na tayo na sana madagdagan ang ating kapulisan dito sa Narra kasi as of now kaunti lang talaga. Dati, mayroon tayong 15, ngayon nasa aabot na yata ng 20 ang ating kapulisan. Napaka-kaunti ng ating kapulisan na nagbabantay sa ating katahimikan sa bayan ng Narra,” Lumba added.
Magcamit, whom the IBP-Palawan Chapter endearingly referred to as “persevering and courageous”, was admitted to the bar in 2010 after graduating from the Palawan State University (PSU) School of Law in 2009. He was a cum laude, a DOST-SEI scholar, and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo awardee upon finishing his degree in Environmental Science in 2005.
“His dedication and commitment to upholding the ends of justice have illumined until his last breath. We deeply mourn the loss of a brother,” the IBP statement further reads.
Lawyer Maria Gisela Josol-Trampe, associate dean of PSU-SOL, called on authorities to “swiftly bring the perpetrators of [the] abominable crime”.
“The PSU – School of Law community strongly condemns the brutal killing of one of our very own, Atty. Eric James A. Magcamit, a brother, a loving husband and father, a very good friend, and a dedicated and passionate officer of the court. The PSU – School of Law community is crying for justice and for the authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators of this abominable crime to face the full brunt of the law,” the statement said.
The judges of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City also enjoined the legal community in condemning in the “strongest terms possible the outrageous murder” of Magcamit.
“We implore the law enforcement authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder of Atty. Magcamit and bring to justice those responsible,” the statement from the Palawan courts read.
He was survived by his wife, prosecutor Ethel Alvarez-Magcamit, and his son.
(with reports from Arphil Ballarta and Ruth Rodriguez)