Task force to probe killings of 9 activists in Calabarzon police operations – Guevarra
MANILA, Philippines — A task force on extrajudicial killings, led by the Department of Justice (DOJ), will investigate the death of nine activists in the simultaneous operations in Calabarzon, now known as “Bloody Sunday,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Monday.
The DOJ chief has expressed disappointment over the continuous killings in police operations.
“I was really hoping that with the statement I made before the UN [United Nations], our law enforcers would be more careful in their operations,” Guevarra said, referring to his recent statement before the UN where he said there were irregularities in more than half of anti-drug operations by the police.
“[But] these things continue to happen. So we really need to sit down with PNP [Philippine National Police], PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency] and with other law enforcement bodies to make sure that these [killings] will not happen again. It could be avoided. We could do something about it,” he said.
Guevarra said he would not want to prejudge the law enforcers, but he added, partly in Filipino: “If they had to do what they needed to do, we don’t know the exact circumstances pertaining to each and every case. But if someone gets killed, we have to do something about it.”
Last Sunday, the police conducted simultaneous search operations against suspected communist rebels. Nine people were killed during the operations — all of them local activists.
“If they will fall within the jurisdiction of the AO [Administrative Order] 35 task force, and we’re actually meeting this month… we can address this growing number [of killings],” he said.
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