Butuan RTC judge killed by motorcycle tandem-riding hit man

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Godofredo Abul
The late Butuan RTC Judge Godofredo Abul. Photograph from his Facebook profile page.

Cagayan de Oro City – Butuan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 4 judge Godofredo Abul Jr. died while his wife was wounded after a still-unidentified motorcycle riding gunman opened fire at their vehicle as the couple was about to leave the house Saturday morning, August 5, 2017.

Initial information from the Caraga Police Regional Office 13 (PRO-13) indicated that Abul, 68, was fatally hit on his head, while his wife, Bernadeth Casuna Abul, 65, suffered gunshot wounds .

“At around 10:00 in the morning, Judge Abul, together with his wife, were about to leave their house on board their white Mitsubishi Montero SUV when attacked by a gunman riding on a motorcycle. The judge was killed on site as he was fatally hit on the head while his wife was rushed to the hospital after she was wounded in the attack,” said Police Superintendent Martin Gamba, Public Information Officer of PRO13.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines said “the frequency and the sheer violence” of such acts “have reached alarming levels … Summary and violent death sentences administered by unknown individuals are no substitute” for a working judicial system.”

Gamba disclosed that, right after the attack, a task force was immediately created.

“Caraga Police Regional Director Chief Superintendent Rolando B. Felix immediately ordered the creation of a special investigation task group, to assist in the investigation of Police Station 4 and hasten the identification of the suspects and file the appropriate case against them,” said Gamba.

Police investigators are still trying to determine if there are other witnesses who saw the incident and are requesting people to come out with the relevant information.

“We will, of course, handle the information confidentially and not divulge the names of those who have given the information,” said Gamba.

Information from the first responders disclosed that the wife of Judge Abul was rushed to MJ Santos Hospital, where she was being treated for wounds on her shoulder and leg.

On his social media account, Attorney Dennis Bacala, governor of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for Eastern Mindanao posted his reaction on the killing of the judge.

“… this is a sad day, this is a blow to our profession. Our prayers and sympathies to the family and praying for the immediate recovery of Judge Abul’s wife. The IBP Eastern Mindanao condemns in the strongest possible terms this atrocity. This kind of violent attack is not only an attack to the person of the Honorable Judge but this is an attack to our institution. We call for justice! And we hope that this case be solved as soon as possible,” said Bacala.

Judge Abul was to return to work this month after he was suspended for six months on February 28, 2017 by the Supreme Court for an administrative matter involving a case of extortion filed against the judge on January 12, 2015.