Philippines: assassination of attorney Eugene Tan

The ICJ’s Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers condemns the assassination of attorney Eugene Tan and his driver, Mr. Eddie Constantino.

The ICJ takes note of the Order issued by the President of the Philippines, President Ramos, to all law enforcement agencies to investigate the murders and to effect an arrest within the week.

Attorney Eugene Tan was a human rights lawyer, and the former National President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

On 14 November 1994, Attorney Eugene Tan and his driver, Mr. Eddie Constantino were kidnapped at gunpoint at about 7:30 in the evening near his residence, in Metro Manila. The kidnap was not announced publicly until the two bodies were later found. The car was found later in the evening at Holiday Village, Imus, Cavite.

On 18 November 1994, the bodies of both Attorney Eugene Tan and Mr. Constantino were found in Sitio Barangay Sampaloc, Cavite – south of Metro Manila. Both bodies bore signs of torture and strangulation. Several gun shots and stab wounds were evident on the bodies, as well.

The autopsy reports indicate that both were handcuffed when shot, and that Attorney Tan had 5 to 6 broken ribs. Reports attribute the cause of the death of Attorney Tan to a gun shot wound to the right temple of the head. The type of firearm used is not yet determined.

The reasons for the assassination are not yet clear. The ICJ calls on the Government of the Philippines to thoroughly investigate the assassination and to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice, and to guarantee the protection of human rights activists in the Philippines.

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