Wife of slain labor leader urges DOJ to reconsider dismissal of case vs 17 cops
MANILA, Philippines–The wife of slain labor leader Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion on Thursday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reconsider its resolution dismissing the murder case against 17 policemen tagged in her husband’s death.
Asuncion was among the nine activists killed during the March 7, 2021’s simultaneous police-military operations in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal provinces, now known as “Bloody Sunday.”
A complaint for murder was filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against 17 policemen, but last January 18, the complaint was dismissed by the DOJ panel of prosecutors for lack of probable cause.
READ: Murder raps vs. 17 cops in ‘Bloody Sunday’ raids dismissed
The panel said complainant Liezel Asuncion, wife of the victim, was not able to establish the identity of the respondent policemen as they were wearing ski masks and only their eyes were visible and were not able to see who shot her husband dead as she was already outside the house when she heard the gunshots.
In her 27-page motion for reconsideration, Liezel maintained that all the elements of murder, namely treachery, abuse of superior strength, and evident premeditation, were present in the case.
She said the policemen also conspired with each other in carrying out her husband’s killing.
“Indeed, Manny was targeted pursuant to a virtual kill list under COPLAN ASVAL. As the implementers of this police operation, all of the respondents must be held accountable for Manny’s untimely and brutal killing,” she said in her plea.
“The circumstances surrounding the case show clear conspiracy and evident premeditation. The fact is that nine unarmed activists were summarily killed on the same date and almost the same time, within minutes of purportedly serving the search warrant issued by the same Vice-Executive Judges of the same court, on the exact same charges,” she added.
She added that positive identification can still be made even in the absence of eyewitness or direct evidence.
“It is complainant’s humble submission that the circumstantial evidence, when taken all together and following the guidelines laid down by jurisprudence in analyzing extrajudicial killings, inevitably point to the respondent-police officers, who acted in conspiracy with one another, as the persons responsible,’ the motion said.
Citing the Supreme Court, she said extrajudicial killings should be resolved with a more circumspect analysis of the incidental factors surrounding the same, such as the actual or likely presence of the persons charged at the place and time when the killing was committed and how the victim was killed.
The motion further said the policemen only offered a general alibi to deny their participation in Asuncion’s death, such as they were only part of the perimeter security during the conduct of the operation to serve the search warrant at Asuncion’s house in Dasmarinas City, Cavite, or they were just investigators.
She also asked the prosecutor to inhibit from handling the complaint.
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