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NBI files murder complaints vs. 17 cops in 'Bloody Sunday' killings

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The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed complaints for murder against 17 police officers who were involved in the serving of the search warrants in Batangas that led to the deaths of several activists in March 2021.

On March 7, 2021, at least nine activists were killed while six others were arrested after police authorities conducted simultaneous police operations in Calabarzon.

Two of the victims were couple Ariel and Ana Evangelista, members of the Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan.

“The [Department of Justice]… will now begin the preliminary investigation of the case in earnest, with all due consideration to the families of the victims and the constitutional rights of the alleged perpetrators,” the DOJ said.

“Along with the deaths of the spouses Evangelista, other similar cases involving deaths during the service of search warrants in Southern Tagalog on 07 March 2021 are also progressing toward actionable status,” it added.

The DOJ said the NBI filed the complaint against uniformed personnel associated with the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group before the DOJ.

Meanwhile, the DOJ said the preliminary investigation to the death of Bayan Cavite coordinator Manny Asuncion, who was shot dead in a raid at the Workers Assistance Center, is being transferred to the DOJ main office.

The agency also called said the Administrative Order 35 Special Investigation Team has been directed to file the appropriate complaint regarding the death of Melvin Dagsinao as the investigation into the death of Makmak Bacasno will not continue until all necessary evidence has been gathered.

Both were members of SIKKAD-K3 Kadamay Montalban.

“There is zero tolerance for impunity in the ranks of Philippine law enforcement agencies, and these mechanisms are in place for the maintenance of an environment free from threats to anyone’s life, liberty, and personal security,” it said.

'Questionable warrant'

Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes welcomed the filing of the murder complaints.

“The police entered the house of the Evangelistas in Batangas, using a questionable search warrant, one among many issued for that region by several executive judges,” Reyes said.

“The killings of the Evangelista couple, in the presence of their child who only managed to hide, was such a heinous crime,” he added.

According to Reyes, this latest criminal complaint should serve as a warning against law enforcers involved in extrajudicial killings and the weaponization of search warrants.

Reyes stressed that the killings in Batangas and Cavite are not isolated.

“We await the filing of cases for the other victims of Bloody Sunday,” he said.

“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,” he said. —NB, GMA News

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