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CamSur judge, aide wounded in ambush

A lady judge who issued the warrants of arrest against two officials of militant groups Gabriela and Karapatan in the Bicol region in July this year and her personal secretary were ambushed by motorcycle riding gunmen on Tuesday (Oct. 20) afternoon in Barangay Puro-Batia, Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

Judge Jeaneth Gaminde-San Joaquin, 46 years old, married, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 56 in Libmanan, Camarines Sur and a resident of San Juan Street Barangay Tinago, Naga City sustained injuries caused by shattered pieces of glass, while her secretary, Rocelle S. Martinez, 34 years old, single, a resident of Buhi, Camarines Sur sustained gunshot wounds as a result of the ambush. The latter is reportedly in critical condition at an undisclosed hospital.

The incident took place at 2:30 PM on Tuesday at Barangay Puro Batia, Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

Initial police investigation disclosed that while the victims were on board a black pick up vehicle heading towards Naga City, they were fired upon by unidentified suspects on board a motorcycle. The suspects immediately fled towards an unknown direction after the shooting.

San Joaquin who was driving the vehicle suffered scratches on her arms caused by shattered pieces of glass, while Matinez sustained gunshot wounds. They were rushed to the Libmanan District Hospital for medical treatment.

San Joaquin who was appointed RTC judge in 2019 was the one who reportedly issued the warrant of arrest against Jenelyn Nagrampa-Caballero, 37, Gabriela’s national vice chairperson and chairperson of Gabriela Bicol. Caballero was arrested on July 7, 2020 at her house in Nabua, Camarines sur.

She is an incumbent village councilor of Barangay San Isidro Poblacion, Nabua town. She is facing murder charges which she denied.

On July 9, 2020, Dan San Andres, 61, spokesman of Karapatan-Bicol and a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines was also arrested at his Pastoral house in Sipocot, Camarines Sur. The warrant for his arrest for murder was also issued by San Joaquin.

In a statement, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta condemned the attack on San Joaquin and her companion. He urged all “ law enforcement authorities to immediately investigate the matter and ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are apprehended. As the attack on our judges is an assault on the Rule of Law. This has no place in a civilized society like ours.”

Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Camarines Sur Chapter condemned the attack on the judge and her aide. In a statement, the lawyers group said “ We condemned in strongest terms the wicked attempt and vicious assault to the life of Judge Jeaneth Gaminde San Joaquin of RTC Libmanan Branch 56 and to her secretary. IBP Camarines sur in coordination with the authorities will leave no corners hidden nor quarters safe for the evil perpetrators.”

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