MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) AO 35 Special Investigating Team (SIT) has recommended the filing of a murder complaint against law enforcers involved in the death of labor leader Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion.
Asuncion was among the nine activists killed in March 7’s simultaneous police-military operations in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces, now known as “Bloody Sunday.”
“In the case of the death of Emmanuel Asuncion, the AO 35 SIT has recommended the filing of murder charges against certain law enforcement agents involved in the incident,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters.
Meanwhile, Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is winding up interviews of witnesses for the death of fisherfolk couple Chai and Ariel Evangelista of the Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan (UMALPAS KA). The couple was also among the nine people killed during the “bloody Sunday” operation.
“SIT report will be out in about two weeks,” Guevarra said.
The joint military and police operation last March was carried out based on Metro Manila court’s search warrants. Authorities claimed that the nine fought back and were killed.
But examination conducted by the UP College of Medicine last July found out that the activists were “really shot to be killed.” The bodies of the victims were examined at the request of the relatives and the human rights advocates.
“All of them have shots in the chest. They were really shot to be killed,” Dr. Raquel Fortun, a forensic pathologist from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine said at a press conference.
She said “the gunshot wounds, bullet holes were altered and sutured” while organs of some of the bodies were already taken out and randomly cut.