SC spox says ex-CJ Bersamin getting threats

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan and Benjamin Pulta

November 13, 2019, 4:53 pm

<p>Retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin. (File photo)

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday confirmed that retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin has been receiving threats since he retired from the service.

Speaking to newsmen, SC spokesman Brian Hosaka said these concerns prompted the High Court to provide security for the former top judge.

"The SC is providing (former Chief Justice) Bersamin security personnel. I cannot divulge anything more for obvious reasons. I guess coming from a political family. They have encountered this scenario before and they would know how to handle it," Hosaka told reporters.

Hosaka said he learned of the development when he met briefly with Bersamin on Monday during the conferment of an honorary doctorate degree for the retired magistrate by his alma mater, the University of the East.

Bersamin bowed out of the judiciary upon turning 70 last Oct. 18 and publicly stated that he is not interested in pursuing a political career.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will provide security to the judges and other members of the judiciary if they asked or when necessary.

“This is a nationwide directive to all our forces because there were a lot of judges of what happened in Region 1 ,'yung judge na namatay (who was killed). Sabi ko (I just say) lateral coordination even up to the provincial level is allowed. So kung gusto naman nila (If they want), the PNP can provide security to judges. Then we are obliged actually to protect them,” PNP officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa told reporters.

A report from the Quezon City Police District's Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit said bodyguards of Bersamin noticed two men on a motorcycle following their vehicle along Quezon Avenue on Sunday.

Bersamin said he also received two threatening phone calls from unidentified individuals on separate occasions last month, days after his retirement.

PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said they have yet to receive a request from judges for additional security.

Persons with threats to their security can avail themselves of a maximum of two escorts from the PNP Police Security Protection Group.

At least 30 judges were killed since January 1999, according to the Supreme Court.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) may be tasked to investigate the threats.

"If former CJ Bersamin needs protection from the NBI, or he wants to investigate where the threat is coming from, we will help," Guevarra said. (PNA)