Karapatan: No justice from Marcos Jr.’s justice department

Human rights alliance Karapatan decried the latest decision from the Department of Justice (DOJ) absolving the 17 policemen accused in the murder of activist couple Ariel Evangelista and Ana Mariz “Chai” Evangelista. Ariel and Chai Evangelista were among the nine individuals slain in a region-wide dragnet by the Philippine National Police in several Southern Tagalog provinces on March 7, 2021.

“This is strike two for Marcos Jr.’s Justice Department, whose secretary boasted before international human rights bodies that he would mete ‘real justice in real time,'” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay. “Just last January,” said Palabay, “the DOJ’s panel of prosecutors likewise let 17 other policemen accused of murdering trade unionist Manny Asuncion walk away scot-free.”

“Standing in stark contrast to the DOJ’s decision are the results of an investigation conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Southern Tagalog that concluded that ‘there was no firefight inside the house where the victims allegedly died’ and that ‘there is strong evidence’ that the Evangelista couple were ‘summarily executed by state agents,” said Palabay.

“This does not bode well for the six other victims killed during the Bloody Sunday raids,” added Palabay, “considering that the results of the DOJ-led investigations in the cases of Manny Asuncion and the Evangelista couple are so ludicrous for disregarding facts, evidence and context.”

“These recent decisions regarding the Bloody Sunday killings affirm the bleak realities – that impunity reigns and there will be no justice forthcoming for victims of extrajudicial killings,” said Palabay, “at least not from the seriously flawed justice system that Secretary Remulla is so proud of.”