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NBI files murder raps vs 17 cops over killing of activist spouses

January 14, 2022 - Friday 4:01 PM by GDM

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The National Bureau of Investigation has filed before the Department of Justice a murder complaint against 17 police officers over the deaths of activist couple Ariel Evangelista and Ana Mariz Lemita-Evangelista, who were killed in the bloody Sunday raids in March 2020.

In a statement on Friday, the DOJ said the bureau filed murder raps against 17 officers and personnel of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Calabarzon who were involved in the service of search warrants against the Evangelistas.

The filing comes after the probe conducted by the Administrative Order 35 Special Investigation Team and case buildup with the NBI, the DOJ said.

The complaint over the deaths of the Evangelistas count as the second and third murder complaints filed against cops over the March 2020 Bloody Sunday raids that led to deaths of nine activists in separate raids in Calabarzon.

“The DOJ, as chair-agency of AO 35 Inter-Agency Committee, will now begin the preliminary investigation of the case in earnest, with all due consideration to the families of the victims and constitutional rights of the alleged perpetrators,” the DOJ added.

It added that other similar cases related to the Bloody Sunday raids are also progressing towards actionable status in the dockets of the AO 35 Secretariat.” The case of Manny Asuncion, the first murder rap filed over the said raids, is set to be transferred to the DOJ Main Office, the department also said.

Rights alliance Karapatan, for its part, welcomed the filing against police officers involved in the killing of the Evangelistas, but they urged the AO 35 Task Force to include in their probe the judge who issued the search warrant, officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and former PNP Chief Debold Sinas, who they said, justified the raids.

“We laud the families of victims, the witnesses in these incidents, and various groups for their perseverance and courage in pursuing justice and accountability,” Karapatan added.

 

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