THE wife of slain activist Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to reconsider its resolution which found lack of probable cause to charge 17 policemen for the crime of murder in connection with his killing during the so-called “Bloody Sunday” raids in Calabarzon provinces on March 7, 2021.
In a 20-page motion for reconsideration (MR), Liezel Asuncion, through her lawyer Ephraim Cortez of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), maintained that the evidence her camp submitted were sufficient to indict the policemen for murder.
The DOJ panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rodan Parrocha earlier ruled that Asuncion was killed during a legitimate police operation after he exchanged gunfire with operatives.
Asuncion was one of the nine human rights activists killed by the police during the “Bloody Sunday” raids.
The panel also pointed out that Liezel failed to establish the identities of her husband’s alleged assailants, which led to the dismissal of the case.
The DOJ said it considered the evidence presented by the complainant against the policemen as mere “circumstantial evidence.”
“Complainant humbly requests this Honorable Office to take a second hard look at the pieces of evidence presented for its consideration,” the motion for reconsideration read.
She insisted that all the elements of murder—treachery, abuse of superior strength and evident premeditation—were present in the case.
“The circumstances surrounding the case show clear conspiracy and evident premeditation. The fact is that nine unarmed activists were summarily killed on the same date and almost the same time, within minutes of purportedly serving the search warrant issued by the same Vice Executive Judges of the same court, on exact same charges. This came after former President Duterte gave orders to ‘kill all the activists’ in a public hearing,” the MR stated.
Liezel claimed that her husband was targeted pursuant to a virtual kill list under “COPLAN ASVAL.”
“As the implementers of this police operation, all of the respondents must be held accountable for Manny’s untimely and brutal killing. All of the foregoing clearly shows that the 17 fully armed respondents killed the defenseless and unarmed victim,” she added.
The MR also claimed that the respondent policemen’s defense “are general denial and alibi,” which should not be given credence.
The motion also said positive identification can still be made even in the absence of eyewitness or direct evidence and that the DOJ should have considered all the evidence that it added is enough to find probable cause to indict the policemen for murder.
“It is [the] complainant’s humble submission that the circumstantial evidence, when taken altogether and following the guidelines laid down by jurisprudence in analyzing extrajudicial killings, inevitably point to the respondent-police officers, who acted in conspiracy with one another, as the persons responsible,” the MR read.
The same motion also asked Parrocha to inhibit from handling the case. Liezel pointed out that Parrocha is the head of the six-member Panel of Prosecutors of the Counter-Terrorism Task Force of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) of the DOJ.
She said the Counter-Terrorism Task Force of the NPS has been tasked to actively prosecute cases hurled against suspected and alleged members of the communist terrorist groups (CTGs).
“Considering that Complainant’s husband, Emmanuel ‘Ka Manny’ Asuncion was targeted under the COPLAN ASVAL that was devised to neutralize and impair the alleged criminal operation of suspected members of CTGs, this taints the impartiality of the head of the panel of prosecutors from objectively considering the evidence presented by both parties,” the MR added.
“It is [also the] complainant’s humble submission to seek the voluntary recusal of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rodan G. Parrocha from further resolving this case,” the MR said.