activist groups in PH

Calls for justice mark one month since ‘Bloody Sunday’

Jairo Bolledo
Calls for justice mark one month since ‘Bloody Sunday’

LEADERS LOST. Nine activists are killed during a crackdown dubbed 'Bloody Sunday' on March 7, 2021.

'Isang buwan na pero hindi pa rin nawawala ‘yung sakit' says Jerry Caristia of Justice for Manny Asuncion Network

Activist groups on Wednesday, April 7, called for justice for “Bloody Sunday” victims as they marked one month since the deadly police operations in Calabarzon.

During the commemoration of the first month of the deadly crackdown, rights group Karapatan said that the parents of Chai Lemita Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista, the two slain activists from Nasugbu, Batangas, sent a letter to the Department of Justice and Congress to call for more concrete actions.

The letter was sent on Wednesday.

Kumakatok kami sa inyo ngayon para sa independyente at makatotohanang imbestigasyon tungo sa pagkamit ng hustisya (We’re appealing for an independent and truthful investigation to attain justice),” Imelda Evangelista and Rosenda Lemita said in the letter.

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Jerry Caristia of the Justice for Manny Asuncion Network said they are still in pain after losing a great leader. 

Isang buwan na, pero hindi pa rin nawawala ‘yung sakit sa mga mamamayan dito sa Cavite sa pagkawala ni Ka Manny (It’s been a month, but we can still feel the pain of Ka Manny’s death),” Caristia said during Wednesday’s press conference attended by at least 11 activist groups.  

“‘Yung galit hindi mawawala, pero naninindigan kaming mga taga-Cavite na ang galit na ito ay dapat mag-transform sa pagkamit ng hustisya (The anger will remain, but we will make sure that this anger will be used to attain justice),” he added. 

On March 7, the Philippine National Police Calabarzon conducted simultaneous operations in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal. The operations resulted in the death of 9 activists and the arrest of 6 others. 

Aside from Chai and Ariel, Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion – a known labor and multi-sectoral leader in Cavite and the coordinator of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Cavite) – was slain at the Workers’ Assistance Center in Dasmariñas by the Calabarzon police during the deadly crackdown.

Calls for justice mark one month since ‘Bloody Sunday’

Michael Dasigao, Mark Lee Bacasno, and Abner and Edward Esto of San Isidro Kasiglahan, Kapatiran at Damayan para sa Kabuhayan, Katarungan at Kapayapaan (SIKKAD-K3), a legal organization that advocates for housing rights in Kasiglahan Village, Rodriguez, Rizal, were also killed. 

Dumagat tribe members Puroy dela Cruz and Randy “Pulong” dela Cruz were also killed on March 7.

The arrests and deaths were the results of the government’s continuous anti-insurgency efforts by virtue of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70.

The March 7 crackdown was widely condemned, with the United Nations human rights office calling the killings “arbitrary” and the European Union saying the operations “have raised concerns.”

The DOJ had been conducting a parallel investigation into the killings after including it in the department’s ongoing task force probe into political killings. – Rappler.com

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.