January 1, 2006 · Posted in: In the News

Judge handling PIATCo case murdered

BARELY 12 hours before the new year, the judge handling the expropriation case over the mothballed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 between the government and a Filipino-German consortium was ambushed to death by two unidentifed motorcycle-riding assailants near his residence in Soldier’s Hills Village in Bacoor, Cavite.

Judge Henrick Gingoyon of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 117 was declared dead on arrival at the Imus General Hospital, sustaining four gunshot wounds in his body.

On January 4, 2005, Gingoyon ordered the government to release $62.34 million to the Philippine International Air Terminals Company (PIATCo) as compensation for the cost incurred in building the NAIA Terminal 3 facilities, a decision that was recently upheld by the Supreme Court. In its December 19 ruling, the high court ordered the government to pay P3 billion to the consortium that includes the German airport operator Fraport AG as a requirement for its takeover of NAIA 3.

Such circumstances have prompted recently appointed SC Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban to raise concern that there could be "something deeper" about Gingoyon’s murder.

Prior to his appointment as trial court judge, Gingoyon was a Cebu-based human rights lawyer affiliated with the Free Legal Assistance Group.

According to the Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL), Gingoyon was the first and only judge to have been murdered in 2005, but he was the 10th since 1999. Aside from Gingoyon, seven other members of the bar — all laywers — met the same gruesome fate this past year, which include:

  • Atty. Norman Bocar, chair of Bayan Muna-Eastern Visayas,
  • Public Defender Teresita Vidamo of the Public Attorney’s Office,
  • Atty. Felidito Dacut, incoming chair of the Legal Aid Committee of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Leyte Chapter at the time of his death;
  • Atty. Ambrosio Matias, who was counsel to peasant organizations in Central Luzon.

Following is the statement issued by FLAG on Gingoyon’s murder: 

The Free Legal Assisstance Group (FLAG) condemns the murder of FLAG lawyer, Judge Henrick Gingoyon. 

Judge Gingoyon is remembered by FLAG for his contributions to the cause of human rights.  As a FLAG lawyer based in Cebu, he pursued the defense of those who could not find anyone to defend them:  political prisoners, workers, slum dwellers, farmers, and victims of human rights violations.  His relentless defense of human rights cases distinguished him as a human rights lawyer and a man of conviction.

As a FLAG lawyer, he received death threats and was placed under surveillance. On 28 August 1987, at the height of the coup, Judge Gingoyon’s home was illegally raided by the military.  During the raid, soldiers manhandled his then 10-year daughter by stepping on her stomach.  A year later, Judge Gingoyon was among those named in a death list prepared by the military and distributed to vigilantes in Toledo City, which called for his immediate execution.

His brutal murder illustrates the complete breakdown of law and order in the Philippines.  The killing of any judge is an attack on the independence and integrity of the judiciary; it jeopardizes the conditions under which justice may be dispensed.  

Media reports indicate that Judge Gingoyon was walking towards his home when two unidentified men on board a motorcycle shot him. No information as to the identities of the perpetrators or the reason behind his murder is yet available. However, the modus operandi of his murder is reminiscent of the murders of other FLAG lawyers.

As FLAG mourns his death, FLAG demands a speedy, impartial and full investigation into the murder of Judge Henrick Gingoyon in order to bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice. 

Quezon City, Philippines, 31 December 2005.


18 Responses to Judge handling PIATCo case murdered


tongue in, anew

January 1st, 2006 at 3:09 am

Happy New Year, ALecks and the rest of the gang!

I believe CODAL’s statement is inaccurate. I remember there was another Pasay City judge ambushed earlier this year also in Cavite. Am I right? Do you see a link to these two killings, coming from the same City and both shot to death in Cavite?


tongue in, anew

January 1st, 2006 at 3:43 am

And there was still this NAIA finance executive lady also shot to death somewhere in Parañaque at the time Ping Lacson was exposing Jose Pidal. There were talks in NAIA then that this murder might have something to do with the Pidal controversy as this lady also did the financials for Mike Arroyo’s foundation, if I remeber accurately.

I’m not accusing anybody here but the violence apparently attributed to money in NAIA is really disturbing. If my hunch is correct, someone big must have been terribly threatened or hurt by the judge and the finance exec. Sleuths, go, go, go!

Regarding my previous post above, I remember the news reported that the first judge that was killed some months ago was referred to as “executive judge”, and I don’t know what the hell that means.



January 1st, 2006 at 5:08 pm


For 2006, enough killing Filipinos who try to make a difference.

To those assassins who let themselves be bought, take the money then point the gun at your masters instead.


Alecks Pabico

January 1st, 2006 at 7:04 pm

Tongue in, anew,

I’m not sure about that other Cavite judge. But as far as CODAL’s monitoring is concerned, the eight killings in 2005 involved only one judge (Gingoyon). The rest were lawyers, many of whom were human rights lawyers. I lifted the following from a statement that Atty. Neri Colmenares, CODAL spokesperson, sent me regarding yesterday’s murder of Judge Gingoyon:

Fifteen (15) violent attacks against lawyers were recorded by CODAL in 2005. Other than Judge Guingoyon, seven lawyers many of whom were human rights lawyers, were killed in 2005: Atty. Felidito Dacut (Leyte), Atty. Norman Bocar (Samar), Atty. Ambrosio Matias and his son Leonard (Nueva Ecija), PAO lawyer Teresita Vidamo (Las Pinas), Atty. Victor Padilla (Manila) and Atty. Reuel Dalguntas (Davao). Human rights lawyer Charles Juloya was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt last March 2005. Atty. Romeo Capulong. Judge ad Litem to the Yugoslavian International Criminal Tribunal and head of the Lawyer-Presentors of the Peoples Congress on Truth and Accountability (CCTA), was also the subject of an assassination attempt in Nueva Ecija. PAO lawyer Armando Cabalida was ambushed in February 2005 resulting in the death of his driver. CODAL members, and other members of public interest lawyers groups, were also subjected to threats and harassment.

Three judges namely RTC Judge Paterno Tiamson, Judge Milnar Lammawin and Judge Voltaire Rosales were brutally killed in 2004. Four lawyers were also shot to death in 2004. The killing of Judge Guingoyon brings to ten (10) the number of judges who suffered violent deaths since 1999. CODAL has recorded eleven (11) lawyers, mostly public interest and human rights practitioners, killed since Pres. Arroyo came to power in 2001. The killing of human rights lawyer Atty. Juvy Magsino in February 2004 by suspected elements of the AFP remains unresolved until now.



January 1st, 2006 at 10:50 pm

as long as GMA is in power expect more kiling of judges,lawyers, militants,activist,politicians,etc all who oppose the fake president GMA. all will be branded as stabilizer,communist,terrorist or any crime that will lagitimate their operations..this treacherous act in murdering Judge Henrick Gingoyan,who defies all odds against the evil regime of GMA is thumbmark of simple military operations..I suspect the evil ex military men of GMA in her Goverment..this is a warning for those people who go against the wishes of people in Malacanang..Our Goverment is being run like Mafia or Gangster, led by Godfather FG Mike,and Mabaker GMA who was a gangster boss in early 20`s in USA..look who are the people now in the Goverment..all are friends of FG and all came from the FIRM the group of mr Villaraza and mr Angcangco and co.we have mr cruz at DND and ms Gutierres in Ombudsman..and all others ar ex military like.Ermita,Mendoza,Calimlim,Reyes,Batenga,Espino,Berroya,Corpuz, Aglipay,Abaya etc…
we know how we are being fooled rigth in our noses.before elcetion last may 2004.the grou of FG the Firm uses all to discredit FPJ by using the office of Archives using mr Manapat to declare FPJ a US citezen,,when they cannot do anything,,they uses the Supreme Court in declaring the Comelec is at fault and cannot use the computerization of counting in the election..now we know the secret..dagdag bawas is the game!! the Firm hired satellite Law offices to file or invent cases against FPJ up to the last minute to declare FPJ is not qualified…they even bought INC headed by mr Manalo in tunes of million pesos for INC`s people to support GMA..all kinds of evil plan just to win the election..if we don`t unite to oust this fake pang(g)ulo ng pilipinas..ms Glu-ria Arro(bo)yo
we as filipino will be forever at the mercy of her evil cabals and her evil husband..let us now move before all goodmen and women so evil in this country will not triumph will all be killed,murdered or be charged by DOJ (si)raul(o) Gonzales,as destabilizer,communist,terrorist or criminals to fit their taste..
Remember..FG and his group wants to operate NAIA Terminal 3 by hook or by crook..all is masterlly planed..and its now us goodmen and women of this country`s move..so that this evil group will not triumph but will be ousted…by hook or by crook..God Bless Us Filipinos..
Happy New Year!!!!



January 2nd, 2006 at 12:02 am

i don’t know if shooting and killing the messenger will solve or mean anything, except reflect the level of how low these criminals will go to further their own interests. This crime calls, if our justice sytem still have guts left in its belly to go further deeper than the murder itself, but who are the brain behind this heinous crime and expeditiously bring them to justice with the force of the law. otherwise the same scenario will be repeated and pretty soon nobody not within reach by these cowards.
Wishing all a Happy New Year.



January 2nd, 2006 at 7:15 am

Pasay City presiding judge Estrelita Paas was found stabbed dead inside her house in Pangasinan last September 2005…

using “pasay judge” as search query, first page of google hits points to this story http://www.malaya.com.ph/sep26/metro4.htm . third page listed a longer article http://pangasinanstar.blogspot.com/2005_10_11_pangasinanstar_archive.html . i stopped my search there.

anew [year]’s tongue is quite right.


on second page of my search, i came across this hit…it’s from a philstar news item entitled “Son of Former Pasay Mayor Cuneta Gets Life Term” http://www.newsflash.org/2003/05/ht/ht003967.htm .

ANY angle on the killing of judge gingoyon is worth pursuing. “sleuths: go, go, go…”

there really is “something deeper” in every assassinations, i.e., the corpse (6-ft underground…unless cremated).



January 2nd, 2006 at 5:17 pm

what say the IBP and Lawasia to this recent brutality?

IBP issued “A Call to Action” statement last september after judge paas’ murder http://www.lawasia.asn.au/uploads/images/IBP.pdf .

whereas, Lawasia issued a statement in november on Violence against Judges and Lawyers in the Philippines http://www.lawasia.asn.au/index.php?contentPKey=72 .



January 2nd, 2006 at 6:06 pm

May mga witness sa nangyari kay Judge Gingoyon. Nakuhanan na rin sila ng mga pahayag. Nagawan na rin ng sketches ang mga mukha ng mga napag-alamang naghahanag kay Judge bago siya mapaslang. Iimbestigahang mabuti ito ng PNP para tignan ang lahat ng posibleng anggulo ng krimen at motibo ng mga suspects. Hayaan muna natin na malinawan ng ating kapulisan ang buong pangyayari bago makinig sa mga personal na opinyon ng ilang politikong lagi na lang may handang sagot sa bawat isyu.



January 2nd, 2006 at 9:11 pm

Huwag naman nating bigyan palagi ng kulay-pulitika ang lahat na lang na napapatay sa ating bansa. Ang latest na Pasay City judge na napatay ay isang dati ring human rights lawyer, at alam nating lahat na ang trabahong itoý napaka-sensitibo at maraming nasasagasaan. Maging maingat tayo sa pagku-kumento at hayaan na lang natin na tumakbo ang hustisya.



January 3rd, 2006 at 1:30 pm

killing a person fighting for truth and freedom only ignite the slumbering hearts of those who are “walang pakialam” and they’ll too will join the cause. learn the history…



January 3rd, 2006 at 1:39 pm

Happy New Year to PCIJ! May the Force be with you!

I was a former associate of a law office which participated in the PIATCO cases. I do not believe that Judge Gingoyon’s death- is in anyway related to the PIATCO cases. As a young lawyer, I have learned to accept the difficult reality concerning the rampant corruption in our judicial system. I have learned from through the halls of justices around the metro various reputations of judges, specifically on whether or not a judge could be bought.

Sadly, I can only say that Judge Gingoyon’s murder was caused by this rampant corruption in the judiciary or corruption related.

I hope that the newly appointed Chief Justice Panganiban focuses his brief term on reduction of corruption in the judiciary.



January 3rd, 2006 at 11:41 pm

Accidental or intentional- people die. What makes it ironic is that some people tend to over-react about these. If the deceased person was an ordinary balut vendor, would we be discussing about it? No.. we usually go for the sensational ones. Why? It’s news! So why not try to give justice to those ordinary folks instead?


Alecks Pabico

January 9th, 2006 at 1:23 pm

The Inquirer has a similar tally of slain judges (10) since 1999. The list can be viewed here.



January 9th, 2006 at 6:50 pm

you expect justice be given to those ordinary folks when even those sensational ones remain unsolve? the fact is, there’s a lot of ordinary and sensational cases that are not solved until now. that’s how our justice system works. and you still want to rely on our PNP? just look at the number of rob-out and (again) unsolved cases handled by these people. i admire some people here. they have a lot of patience.



January 12th, 2006 at 7:01 am

Taken from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ (IBP) “A Call to Action:”

“We, representing the 40,000-strong Integrated Bar, condemn in the strongest terms possible the alarming spate of abductions, disappearances, hapless killings, and violence against lawyers while in the discharge of their professional duty.”

“Lawyers in increasing numbers have become victims of these atrocious human rights violations – Edgardo Calizo, Felidito Dacut, Charles Cooyan, Juvy Magsino, Arbet Yongco, Bogs Matias, Judge Voltaire Rosales, Judge Milnar Lammawin, to name some of them. Just recently, three other lawyers, Norman Bocar, Eugenia Campol and Victor Padilla, have fallen prey to brutal killings being wreaked upon our brethren in the legal profession. Last Friday, September 23, 2005, JUDGE ESTRELLITA PAAS was murdered in Pangasinan.”

“We deplore the fact that these crimes are still unresolved and that the authorities have not made any significant progress in their investigations. We put our lives on the line as advocates of justice and officers of the court. What we only ask from the government is to protect us and allow us to discharge our duties spared of intimidation, harassment and threat of violence…”


I don’t know why the Office of the Court Administrator as updated by the Supreme Court Public Information Office (from which the Inquirer sourced its list of slain judges) doesn’t know JUDGE PAAS’ fate? Perhaps, only Mr. Raymond Africa (of Malaya), The Pangasinan Star ONLINE, The IBP, and The Law Association for Asia and the Pacific know.

How can we expect justice for her when the Highest Court in the Land doesn’t “KNOW” her?


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