Autopsy suggests 'Bloody Sunday' victims were 'shot to be killed': forensic pathologist


Posted at Jul 08 2021 12:52 PM | Updated as of Jul 08 2021 02:18 PM

Autopsy suggests 'Bloody Sunday' victims were 'shot to be killed': forensic pathologist 1
Families and friends bid farewell to labor organizer Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion, 1 of the 9 slain activists in what rights groups dubbed the “Bloody Sunday” killings, at Himlayang Caviteño in Cavite City on March 17, 2021. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Autopsy results of nine activists who were killed by police and military during simultaneous raids in Calabarzon in March suggest they were "shot to be killed," a forensic pathologist who conducted the examination said Thursday.

Dr. Raquel Fortun of the UP Manila, in an interview with ANC, said the victims of the so-called "Bloody Sunday" sustained at least 2 gunshot wounds on the chest.

"The common pattern is they... were apparently shot to be killed," she told "Rundown".

"If you are just trying to neutralize someone for the purposes of reducing the resistance you encounter as law enforcer, these individuals were intended to be really killed if you aim for the chest. That's going to kill you, and that's what happened," she added.

Fortun conducted an autopsy of the victims upon the request of family members and rights activists.

In her examination, she found that the bodies were examined "to some degree" but "the standards are really bad."

"Some had incisions on the chest and abdomen and that gives you an idea maybe there was an autopsy. But when you open up the body, that's it, there's just skin incisions," she said.

Some victims had their organs "partially examined" just to determine their cause of death, Fortun said.

"There's no standard as to how the examination was done," she added.

In light of the incident, Fortun hoped that international experts could come in to help in the investigation.

"My wish is for them to finally come in and help us," she said.

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On March 7, the police and military implemented 24 search warrants in Calabarzon that left 9 activists dead and 4 others arrested.

Among those killed were Manny Asuncion, coordinator of activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Cavite, and fisherfolk leaders Chai Lemita-Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista in Batangas.

The operations came 2 days after President Rodrigo Duterte told state forces to ignore human rights and “finish off” communist rebels.

The Department of Justice has yet to make significant progress on its own investigation into the killings.

The police earlier said the operations were legitimate and those killed were allegedly "involved in some kind of terror operation."


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