MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte named the judge who issued at least three of the warrants used in the “Bloody Sunday” operations as new Court of Appeals (CA) associate justice.
In the appointment paper signed by Duterte, Manila Regional Trial Court First Vice Executive Judge Jose Lorenzo dela Rosa was formally appointed to the CA. Dela Rosa’s appointment coincided with the first anniversary of the bloody operations.
The letter, signed by Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Duterte’s Executive Secretary, was dated March 7, 2022.
Dela Rosa issued at least three warrants for the Calabarzon crackdown that saw the death of nine activists and arrest of six others. One of the warrants was for the operation on Rosario, Cavite, home of killed labor leader Manny Asuncion.
Asuncion, then-secretary general of BAYAN, was allegedly being searched for guns when the authorities killed him. Dela Rosa issued the warrant for Rosario town, but Asuncion was killed inside their office in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
In December 2021, the justice department sued for murder at least 17 police personnel and officers involved in Asuncion’s death.
The former Manila judge’s two other warrants were used for the homes of progressive leaders Elizabeth Camoral and Esteban Mendoza in Cabuyao, Laguna. The two leaders were searched for hand grenades.
As of March 2021, Camoral, Laguna spokesperson of BAYAN, was detained at the Canlubang City Jail. Meanwhile, Mendoza, affiliated with Kilusang Mayo Uno, was detained at Camp Vicente Lim.
Shortly after the deadly incident, the Supreme Court distanced trial court judges from the outcome of Bloody Sunday. Human rights lawyers have already called on the highest court to review their rules on search warrants, or even conduct an audit of the courts. – Rappler.com