State forces involved in the killing of nine activists last March 6—now known as “Bloody Sunday”—will undergo investigation after “sufficient evidence” that these activists were part of groups involved in “legitimate dissent” surfaced, according to justice secretary Menardo Guevarra.
Police and soldiers who participated would be probed by an inter-agency committee (IAC) formed back in 2012 for the purpose of looking into extrajudicial killings, disappearances and tortures; a body of which the Philippine National Police is part.
However, PNP spokesperson Ildebrandi Usana asserted that they were New People’s Army members pretending to be activists who “wanted to shoot it out with our troops.”
According to justice undersecretary Adrian Sugay, the IAC would require sworn affidavits, from policemen, given that there were allegations that the slain nine were engaged in terrorist activities upon their arrival, but also allegations that they were not.
“Since there were deaths, all aspects of the police operations must be open to examination,” he said.
The deaths came two weeks after Guevarra faced the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying that police who took part in antidrug operations violated protocols, and only two days after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the killings of communists and insurgents, instructing them: “Don’t mind human rights.”