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Nation

Bloody Sunday: Raps vs cops recommended over activist’s killing

Evelyn Macairan, Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A special investigation team of the Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of murder charges against law enforcers in connection with the killing of labor leader Emmanuel Asuncion during a “Bloody Sunday” incident in Calabarzon last March.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the investigating panel created under Administrative Order 35 Task Force, which handles cases of extrajudicial killings, endorsed the conduct of a preliminary investigation against 17 policemen over the death of Asuncion, a Bayan coordinator in Cavite.

The policemen were required to appear before the city prosecutor’s office in Dasmariñas, Cavite on Jan. 11 and 25 for preliminary investigation and to submit their counter-affidavits.

Guevarra said the deaths of fisherfolk couple Chai and Ariel Evangelista were not included in the probe as no cause-oriented connection was established.

He said the AO 35 committee report is expected to be released within two weeks.

Investigations into the deaths of the other activists are ongoing.

Nine activists who allegedly resisted arrest were killed in simultaneous police operations on March 7.

The incident prompted the Supreme Court to issue an administrative order that required law enforcers to use body-worn cameras when serving warrants.

Bayan and Karapatan welcomed the recommendation of the DOJ panel.

“The Asuncion criminal complaint is the first to be filed, but it shouldn’t be the last. All the nine killed in the police raids were unarmed and were murdered. They deserve justice,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.

He maintained that the murder was gruesome as Asuncion was unarmed and was with his wife and co-worker.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said all victims of the Bloody Sunday raids “deserve no less than justice.”

“Those who remain imprisoned such as human rights worker Nimfa Lanzanas should be released. We continue to urge that similar murder charges be brought against the perpetrators and commanding officers involved in the killings,” Palabay said.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

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