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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Inquiry into "Bloody Sunday" assured

Government to look into Calabarzon killings as cause-oriented groups condemn the bloodletting

MANILA – The government will do its inquiry into the killing nine members of cause-oriented groups and people’s organizations early yesterday morning under questionable circumstances.

In a press briefing in Malacañang at midday today, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a need to investigate the incident as the International Humanitarian Law applies to soldiers and armed rebels engaged in armed conflict.

“If the persons involved are unarmed, the country’s Revised Penal Code and Human Rights Law will apply. There is a need to establish if there was necessity and proportionality for without these, that will be a crime of murder,” he said.

He added he will try to invite Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to join tomorrow’s press briefing to update everyone on the inquiry the government will perform of the latest bloody incidents.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ National Secretariat of Social Action, Justice and Peace condemned the “Bloody Sunday” initiated by the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army.

In a statement signed by its Executive Secretary Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr. and National Director and Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo and released Monday afternoon, they denounce the unnecessary use of force and violence in the government’s quest for peace “which only victimizes the poor and the vulnerable.”

“We call on the Supreme Court to fast-track the discussions and review of the Anti-Terror law, and the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the series of killings impacted by red-tagging incidents,” the Caritas Philippines statement disclosed.

They also called on President Duterte to choose the rule of law over militarization in solving the insurgency and terrorism concerns in the country.

The Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and peace vowed, “as a Church, always to protect the sanctity of life of everyone and defend the rights of the poor and the vulnerable,” as it promised to ensure transparency, accountability and collaboration in their programs and activities.

“On March 7,2021, at least nine activities were killed after the country’s military and police conducted dawn raids against civil rights groups in four provinces near Manila. According to Police Brigadier General Felipe Natividad, director of PRO 4A, the PNP ‘have to act together to end the 51-year-old communist insurgency in the country,’” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, the Council of the Laity of the Philippines called on the people to continue and stand for due process and the rights of all for fair and just trial.

In its separate statement, the CLP called on peace loving Filipinos to make strong statements of condemnation against the most recent brutal and organized atrocities.

“We call on our lawmakers and magistrates to do justice and show to the world that we are still ruled by laws and not by men,” said CLP President Rouquel A. Ponte.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay identified the victims of the early morning operations as Emmanuel Asuncion of BAYAN-Cavite, Michael Dasigao and Mark Lee Bacasno, both of SIkadd Montalban, Ana Marie Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista both of Umalpas-Ka, Batangas, Puroy Dela Cruz, and Randy Dela Cruz both Dumagat leaders of Tanay, Rizal. Two other fatalities have not been identified as of this writing.

Different cause-oriented groups called for an impartial inquiry into the series of killings as they called on the Commission on Human Rights, the United National Human Rights Committee and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to look into the spate of violent incidents.

Four were arrested and now detained and were identified as Elizabeth Camoral of BAYAN-Laguna, now detained at Canlubang City Jail, Nimfa Lanzanas, Karapatan paralegal and Kapatid member, detained at Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna, Esteban Mendoza, Executive Vice Chair of Olalia-KMU detained at Camp Vicente Lim and Eugene Eugenio of Courage, currently detained at Antipolo City Jail. (Melo M. Acuña)

Screen grab from Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque's press briefing, March 8,2021/PCOO/PTV4/RTVM - (Melo M. Acuna)

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