Guevarra to dialogue with kin of slain activists in Calabarzon
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Sunday said he will have a dialogue with the families of two of the nine activists killed in several police raids in Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) last March 7.
The families of activists Chai Lemita Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista earlier sent Guevarra a letter expressing their intent to meet and have a dialogue with him on the investigation of the killings.
“Yes, we got it [letter] last week. We’re happy that the families of the victims have expressed trust in the AO 35 committee. We’ll surely coordinate with them during the investigation,” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
In a letter dated April 7, Rosenda Lemita, the mother of Chai, and Imelda Evangelista, the mother of Ariel, said they believe that the killings and arrests are examples of grave violation to the law and the right to life.
They also expressed fear for their lives and sought for an independent and truthful investigation into the incident to seek justice for their children.
The families outlined three major reasons as to why the killings should be given due attention and thorough investigation, which are the following:
- Mass approval of search warrants that were served during the raids
- The police’s explanation that the victims fought back against authorities or “nanlaban,” which the families denied, saying the activists does not have the capacity to own firearms and explosives
- Previous harassments on the activists for being members of progressive groups
“Mula sa mga dahilang ito at sa iba pang nagsasanga mula rito, handa kaming gawin ang mga kinakailangang hakbang, gaano ma kahirap, upang mabigyang katarungan ang pagpaslang sa kanila,” the mothers wrote.
(From these reasons, we are ready to do anything to find justice for their killings.)
“Hindi lamang ito dahil sa patuloy naming pagmamahal sa kanila, kundi pati na rin sa mga paniniwalang pinanghahawakan nila na naging sanhi ng kanilang pagkawala: disente at may dangal na buhay para sa lahat ng mamamayan,” they added.
(This is not only because of our undying love for them but also because of their beliefs they held on to that caused their deaths: decent and dignified life for all.)
“Umaasa po kami na makausap kayo kasama ang aming mga abugado,” they further said.
(We are hoping to have a dialogue with you with our lawyers.)
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