AT LEAST 30 policemen are facing murder charges in relation to the simultaneous police operation tagged as “bloody Sunday” in March 2021 in Calabarzon, Justice Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said on Monday, September 12, 2022.Dulay said the charges have already been filed by state prosecutors while investigation on other cases, which may result in the filing of the same charges against more cops, is ongoing.The 30 cops were charged over the death of spouses Ariel Evangelista and Ana Mariz Lemita-Evangelista, as well as Bayan local coordinator Emmanuel Asuncion on the evening of March 7.During that day, Calabarzon police conducted a simultaneous implementation of 24 search warrants in Calabarzon amid the Philippine National Police’s campaign against loose firearms.Nine individuals, who were all affiliated to various activist groups were killed during the operations. Four others were arrested.Human rights groups rejected the police claim that the supposed suspects resisted arrest and engage them in a gunfight, saying the operations were connected to the pronouncement made by then President Rodrigo Duterte, two days before the operation, for the police and military to “kill” communist rebels and “ignore human rights.”There were also several witnesses claiming that the victims were executed.The Department of Justice ordered the Administrative Order 35 inter-agency task force, which is looking over extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and other grave human rights violations involving activists and rights defenders, to probe the incidents.Earlier, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said investigators were having difficulty in getting witnesses on other cases related to “bloody Sunday.”Dulay assured, however, that investigation is ongoing and charges will be filed against those who are liable for the incidents as soon as they have tight evidence and witnesses. (SunStar Philippines)