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DOJ junks murder complaint vs. 17 cops in 'Bloody Sunday' raid

A panel of prosecutors of the Department of Justice has dismissed the complaint for murder against 17 policemen for the killing of labor leader Emmanuel Asuncion in 2021 in Cavite in the so-called "Bloody Sunday" raid.

The 23-page resolution said the complaint filed by Asuncion's wife, Liezl, be "dismissed for insufficiency of evidence."

"We lament the demise of Emmanuel Asuncion. However, complainant and the evidence she submitted failed to discharge the obligation to prove the existence of a crime and identify the perpetrators," it said.

"In the absence of proof, there could be no probable cause to charge the respondents," it added.

The resolution also directed the records to be returned to the National Bureau of Investigation-CAVIDO "for the conduct of further investigation to determine the identities of the assailants."

The resolution was signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rodan Parrocha  and Assistant State Prosecutor Moises Yao Acayan.

Named respondents in the complaint were: Lieutenant Elbert Santos, Lieutenant Shay Jed Sapitula, Senior Master Sergeant Hector Cardinales, Master Sergeant Ariel Dela Cruz, Staff Sergeant Jemark Sajul, Corporal Ernie Ambuyoc, Corporal Mark John Defiesta, Corporal Arjay Garcia, Corporal Caidar Dimacangun,  Corporal Bryan Sanchez, Corporal Ericson Lucido, Patrolman Jayson Maala, Patrolman Juanito Plite, Patrolman Jonathan Tatel, Patrolman Prince Benjamin Torres, Patrolman Jaime Turingan, and Patrolman Rey PJ Dacara Lopera.

Asuncion was one of the nine activists killed on March 7, 2021 when police authorities conducted simultaneous police operations in Calabarzon.

Liezl had said the raiding team that barged into their house in Cavite did not show a search warrant.  They were also wearing ski masks that make them hard to identify.

During the raid, Manny was separated from Liezl and after a few minutes, gun shots were heard and the labor leader was found wounded and later died.

According to the resolution, "it was clear that there was no eye witness to the purported killing" of Asuncion.  

"Likewise, there was also nothing that directly incriminates the respondents in killing him," it added.

No justice

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. expressed his dismay over the decision via Twitter, saying “walang hustisya, matapos ang 1 taon, ibinasura ng DOJ ang kaso laban sa mga pulis na sangkot sa Bloody Sunday massacre at pagpatay kay Manny Asuncion. Ang complaint ay isinampa panahon ni SoJ (Menardo) Guevarra pero na-dismiss sa panahon ni SoJ Remulla. Napakasahol.”

“Nakipagdayalogo pa nga kami kay SoJ Guevarra noon at nagpasalamat sya na nagtiwala kami sa DoJ at sa TF AO35 para imbestigahan ang pagpatay. Nagbuo ng mga imbestgador mula sa mga prosecutors, nag cooperate ang mga testigo at naisampa ang kaso. Sa panahon ni SoJ Remulla binasura,” he added.

Defend Southern Tagalog also shared a statement quoting Manny Asuncion’s last words, “mga tao rin kami.”

“These are the facts of the case. The irony is lost on the prosecutor.  Asuncion was not humanely treated on that early morning. The prosecutor’s absolution of the 17 police officers reinforces this. But seemingly the police officers’ template chorus of “presumption of regularity” seemed fit for the prosecutor, even after the thousands of Tokhang cases with a reprise of the same,” it said—LDF, GMA Integrated News