The wife of slain labor leader Manny Asuncion on Thursday filed a motion with the Department of Justice (DOJ) asking it to reconsider its dismissal of her complaint against the 17 policemen allegedly involved in her husband's death.
Last week, a panel of the DOJ dismissed the complaint filed by Liezl, Asuncion’s wife, against the 17 policemen for “insufficiency of evidence.”
“Complainant respectfully prays of this Honorable Office that the assailed resolution be set aside and a new one issued finding probable cause, indicting the respondents for murder,” the 27-page motion read.
The motion argued that the cops committed murder as they acted with treachery and abuse of superior strength, evident premeditation, and conspired with one another.
“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,” the motion said.
“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,” it added.
Meanwhile, it said that the respondents offered only general denial and alibi by stating that they were only designated as perimeter security, investigators, and supervisors while some said they were not present during the implementation.
The motion further stated that there can be no presumption of regularity.
Meanwhile, the motion said that positive identification can still be done despite the absence of eyewitness or direct evidence and that the evidence on record is enough to find probable cause to indict the respondents for murder.
In dismissing Liezl’s earlier complaint, the DOJ said the evidence submitted failed to discharge the obligation to prove the existence of a crime and identify the perpetrators.
Thus, it said that there can be no probable cause to charge the respondents.
To answer this, the motion cited the Supreme Court which said that extra-judicial killings "should be resolved with a more circumspect analysis of the incidental factors surrounding the same, take for instance the actual or likely presence of the persons charged at the place and time when the killing was committed, the manner in which the victim was executed… the possibility that victim should have been easily empowered by his assailants.”
“Thus, Complainant begs to disagree with the earlier findings that the circumstantial evidence is broken and incomplete,” the motion read.
“It is Complainant’s humble submission that the circumstantial evidence, when taken altogether and following the guidelines laid down by jurisprudence in analyzing EJKs, inevitably point to the Respondents, who acted in conspiracy with one another, as the persons responsible,” it added.
In another motion, Liezel asked panel head and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rodan Parrocha to remove himself from the case.
According to the motion, Parrocha is also the head of the panel of prosecutors of the Counter-Terrorism Task Force of the National Prosecution Service, which was tasked to prosecute cases against suspended and alleged members of communist-terrorist groups (CTGs.)
“Considering that Complainant’s husband… was targeted under the COPLAN ASVAL that was devised to neutralize and impair the alleged criminal operation of suspected members of CTGs, this taints the impartiality of the head of the panel of prosecutors from objectively considering the evidence presented by both parties,” it read.
Meanwhile, group Bayan Timong Katagalugan also held a protest before the DOJ to call for justice for those who died in the Bloody Sunday in 2021.
According to Luisito Santos’ report on Super Radyo dzBB, Bayan Timog Katagalugan spokesperson Kyle Salgado said they are seeking justice for the deaths of the labor leaders who died in March 2021.
At least nine activists were killed while six others were arrested after police authorities conducted simultaneous police operations in Calabarzon. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News