|This photo shows a protester holding the photo of couple Chai Lemita at Ariel Evangelista who are among the nine activists killed in the bloody Calabarzon raids on March 7. (Photo from Kilusang Mayo Uno / released)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] MANILA: The National Bureau of Investigation filed Friday murder complaints against 17 officers and personnel with the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group over the deaths of activists Ariel Evangelista and Ana Mariz Lemita-Evangelista during a raid in March 2021. “This filing comes as the culmination of months of tireless work on the part of the Administrative Order No. 35 (s. 2012) Special Investigation Team that conducted the investigation and case buildup with the invaluable and diligent assistance of the NBI,” the Department of Justice said in a statement, PH Inquirer reported.
The DOJ said that it will now begin with the preliminary investigation on the case “with all due consideration to the families of the victims and the constitutional rights of the alleged perpetrators.” The Evangelista couple, staff members of environmental group Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwasak ng Kalikasan, were among nine killed in what activists call the “Bloody Sunday” raids in the provinces of Rizal, Batangas and Cavite which came just days after President Rodrigo Duterte told state forces to immediately shoot suspected rebels in encounters.
These murder raps over the deaths of the Evangelistas follow the murder complaint filed against a handful of policemen over the killing of Manny Asuncion, coordinator of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Cavite, who were also among the activists killed.