NBI files murder raps vs 17 cops in ‘Bloody Sunday’ raid
MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has lodged murder complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against 17 police officers involved in the fatal serving of search warrants in several Southern Luzon provinces last year.
According to the NBI, the complaint against the 17 members of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Region 4-A were for the death of fisherfolk couple Ariel and Ana Mariz Lemita-Evangelista of the Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan (UMALPAS KA).
But Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said the names of the 17 police officers will only be made public once the Office of the Prosecutor issues a subpoena.
The Evangelista couple were among the nine activists killed on March 7, 2021, during simultaneous police-military operations in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal provinces, now known as “Bloody Sunday.”
“These cases represent the important ongoing collective work of the DOJ, NBI, and the AO 35 SIT which manifests the Philippine government’s commitment to hold erring law enforcement officers and personnel accountable for any excessive actions in the field,” the DOJ said in a statement Friday.
AO 35 refers to the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations to the Rights to Life, Liberty, and Security of Persons. The DOJ is part of the inter-agency committee.
Similar cases on March 7, 2021, are “also progressing towards actionable status,” the DOJ said, adding that there is “zero tolerance for impunity in the ranks of Philippine law enforcement agencies.”
Last month, the DOJ has approved the filing of the murder complaints against law enforcers involved in the death of labor leader Emmanuel Asuncion, who was also killed during the Bloody Sunday raid.
Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr. said they welcome the NBI’s filing of the murder complaint against the 17 police officers and personnel.
He said this “should serve as a warning to law enforcers who will allow themselves to be used for extrajudicial killings and the weaponization of search warrants. There will be a time of reckoning.”
However, Reyes also said that “the real masterminds in these killings should also be exposed, along with the judges who issue multiple search warrants that were later used as legal pretext to plant evidence or commit extrajudicial killings.”
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