A good reason for judges to sleep late: avoid assassination attempts

Unfortunately, assassination attempts are a very real part of life for Philippine judges. During my work at the Asia Foundation, I heard one judge explain how he had to hire private bodyguards. Here’s a miraculous story from the Philippine Inquirer this morning:

Manila [Regional Trial Court] Branch 26 Judge Silvino Pampilo Jr.’s vehicle, a Honda CRV with plate number 16NCR26, exploded this morning.

Pampilo said it is fortunate that he was a little late in making his way to work this morning.

He usually leaves his house at 6 a.m. due to the distance between his house and the Manila courts.

Judge Pampilo is currently handling a few controversial cases, including the audit of three big oil companies and the case of Silver Flores, who has been accused of killing an activist upon orders of the military. Over 16 judges have been killed since 1999, and the Supreme Court confirmed threats against another 20-30. This is a real problem, but alas it’s unlikely we’ll see any major efforts to improve judges’ security details.

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