Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has asserted that the autopsy findings of the slain activists in Southern Luzon last March 7 by a forensic pathologist from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine is proof that summary killings are norms in Mr. Duterte’s anti-insurgency campaign.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, was referring to the autopsy findings of Dr. Raquel Fortun which, according to the doctor, showed that the nine activists targeted by simultaneous police and military operations in CALABARZON region were “really shot to be killed”.
“The result of the autopsies on the 9 activists who died in those #BloodySunday raids in March of this year proves what we’ve been saying all along: Duterte has expanded his Davao Death Squad blueprint on a national scale in the past five years that he was President,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1094.
“Just like in his war on drugs, summary killings are the norms in his anti-insurgency campaign. Pinapalabas na nanlaban kahit hindi nanlaban. These summary executions indeed warrant a full-blown murder investigation, if government still cares to investigate killings ordered by its President,” she added.
Last March 5, Duterte told police and the military to ignore human rights and gave the order to kill communist insurgents in all armed encounters.
Barely two days later, on March 7, simultaneous raids conducted by the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines led to the killing of nine and arrest of six individuals believed to be with activist groups in Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Batangas.
The PNP maintained that their operations were legitimate but progressive groups decried these as nothing more than executions and “Tokhang-style” killings.
Fortun said the slain activists, namely Manuel Asuncion, spouses Ariel and Chai Evangelista, brothers Edward and Abner Esto, cousins Puroy and Randy dela Cruz, Marvin Dasigao and Mark Lee Bacasno, each sustained at least two gunshot wounds. “All of them have shots in the chest. They were really shot to be killed,” the expert said.
The nine bodies from what became known as “Bloody Sunday” raids were reportedly taken to the UP College of Medicine for examination upon the request of family members and human rights activists.
“Hindi na maipagkakaila na ang summary killings ang pangunahing polisiya ng rehimeng Duterte. Tapos ngayon, gusto pa ng sociopath serial killer na ito na tumakbong VP. Ano ang unfinished business niya? Hindi pa niya tayo nauubos lahat?” she asked.
“Kung gaano kasiba ang Davao government na ito sa kaban ng bayan, ganun din siya kauhaw sa dugo. Mga aswang!” she added.
Last March, De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 681 seeking to review the Duterte regime’s counter-insurgency campaign in relation to the widespread allegations of human rights violation.
“Ang mga nagbubulag-bulagan at kapwa-may-sala lamang ang magtatangkang itanggi ang ebidensya na may pare-parehong modus operandi at marka ng mga berdugo ang mga pagpatay,” said the Senator. “Kailan tayo matatauhan? Kapag huli na ang lahat? Kapag anak, ama, ina, kapatid, at mga mahal sa buhay na natin ang nabiktima? Pag dating nang panahon na iyon, huli na ang lahat. Wala nang magsasalita, at wala na magtatanggol sa kanila, pagkat pinatay, tinakot at pinatahimik na ang mga tatayo para magtanggol sa kapwa.” “The time for accountability and justice is now. Or it may never come for our children and our children’s children,” De Lima added. (30)