THE PNP Internal Affairs Service is conducting a probe into last Sunday’s simultaneous law enforcement operations in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal that left a Bayan leader and eight other activists dead and six more injured.
The probe was launched by the IAS amid allegations the fatalities did not actually fight it out with the policemen and the evidence against them were planted.
In a statement, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said the PNP Calabarzon applied for search warrants from different courts “pursuant to the law and in strict compliance with standard legal procedures.”
“It was based on verified facts and not on mere membership or affiliation with any organization,” Usana said.
Leftist groups and the human rights group Karapatan have denounced the killings, saying the operations were part of the government’s crackdown against progressive organizations.
Usana said information about the suspects’ illegal possession of firearms and explosives “were sufficiently supported by evidence, which served as basis for the issuance of search warrants.”
“The allegations of ‘hindi nanlaban’ and ‘planted evidence’ are baseless and unfounded.
These only serve to undermine the wisdom of the courts and the legitimacy of police operations,” said Usana.
“The IAS nonetheless will conduct a motu propio investigation over the conduct of the police operations,” Usana added.
The IAS is mandated to investigate police misconduct as well as instill discipline in the police force. Reporting directly to the PNP chief, IAS can recommend administrative sanctions against erring policemen.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque yesterday dared Vice President Leni Robredo to prove her claim that the death of nine activists was a “massacre.”
Robredo condemned the deaths of the nine activists during a series of police raids last Sunday which she described as a “massacre. She also called for a “clean and independent” investigation.
The Department of Justice-led panel on extrajudicial killings is determining if it has jurisdiction over the investigations or it should be handled by the NBI or police.
Justice undersecretary Adrian Sugay said a decision is likely to be released in 24 to 48 hours. – With Jocelyn Montemayor