Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) expressed their support on the murder complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against 17 individuals who took part in the raid that led to the killings of environmental activists Ariel and Chai Evangelista.
In a statement, BAYAN lamented the deaths of the Evangelista couple, along with seven others, who were murdered in what is known as the “Bloody Sunday” killings of activists in Calabarzon on March 7 last year. The Evangelista couple were survived by their 10-year-old son who was also present at the time of their killings.
“The killings of the Evangelista couple, in the presence of their child who only managed to hide, was such a heinous crime,” BAYAN stated.
“The filing of this latest criminal complaint should serve as a warning to law enforcers who will allow themselves to be used for extrajudicial killings and the weaponization of search warrants. There will be a time of reckoning,” the group asserted.
These were the second and third murder cases against the individuals involved in the Bloody Sunday massacre. The first was filed in December last year against the personnel involved in the death of BAYAN Cavite coordinator Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion.
‘Not an isolated case’
“The killings in Batangas and Cavite were not isolated cases. They were part of a region-wide operation that targeted unarmed activists,” said BAYAN.
In March last year, the Philippine National Police-Crime Detection Investigation Group (PNP-CIDG) Region IV-A conducted a series of search and seizure operations against several activists in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal.
Tagged as Case Operation Plan ASVAL (COPLAN ASVAL), it came two days after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police and the military to “ignore human rights” and “kill off” suspected communist rebels.
Along with the two Evangelista, seven others were also killed while six were arrested during the raid.
Among those killed are the following:
- Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion: Secretary general and coordinator of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Cavite;
- Chai Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista: Fisher folks defenders and members of local environmental organization Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan (UMALPAS KA).
- Michael Dasigao, Mark “Mak Mak” Lee Coros Bacarno, Edward Damas Esto, and Abner Damas Esto: urban poor activists and members of San Isidro Kasiglahan, Kapatiran, at Damayan para sa Kabuhayan, Katarungan, at Kapayapaan (SIKKAD-K3); and,
- Puroy Dela Cruz and Randy Dela Cruz: Indigenous rights activists and members of Dumagat Sierra Madre.
BAYAN expressed their hopes for the filing of murder complaints against the people involved in the killings of other Bloody Sunday victims.
They also urge the authorities to expose the “real masterminds” behind the killings, along with the executives and judges responsible for the issuance of the search warrants used for the raids.