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Slain Ilocos judge’s work, personal dealings being probed

Police crime scene

BAGUIO CITY — Ilocos Sur Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez’s work in the Regional Trial Court Branch 25 in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur and even his personal dealings are being investigated by the La Union police in an effort to apprehend the assassins.

READ: RTC judge killed in La Union ambush

La Union police director Lt. Col. Silverio Ordinado said the regional police’s cybercrime unit has been examining the close circuit television (CCTV) footages of the suspects to determine their identities.

Judge Bañez was driving home aboard his Hyundai accent car to his family San Fernando City, La Union at around 5:40 afternoon of Nov. 5 when motorcycle-riding gunmen fired at him at barangay Mameltac.

A single 9mm bullet pierced through the back of his left ear. He was brought to the Bethany Hospital but was declared dead-on-arrival.

According to a report by Rappler, Judge Bañez is the 6thjudge killed under the Duterte administration, bringing the total of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers killed since July 2016 to 43.

Ordinado said their crime laboratory experts will be cross-matching the fired cartridge casing of a 9mm round found where the Judge was shot with found casings of earlier shooting incidents in La Union and other nearby locations.

Operatives are also trying to get more CCTV footages along the route of Judge Bañez.

The La Union chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines condemned the attack while the Commission on Human Rights-Region 1 director lawyer Harold Kub-aron said they have launched a parallel investigation on the killing.

Judge Bañez worked with the CHR-Cordillera region while studying law at the University of the Cordilleras before he got employed at the Justice department.

One of the most controversial decisions Banez handed down was the dismissal of the murder charges against Baguio-based activist Rachel Mariano last August where he ruled in favor of the latter against unsubstantiated claims by Army soldiers who linked her to an NPA ambush in a hinterland town in Ilocos Sur in 2017.