The families of two of the nine activists killed in last March 7 joint police and military operations in Southern Luzon provinces have requested a dialogue with Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra “to discuss the brutal killings” of their children.
In a statement, Karapatan – a human rights group supporting prisoners and their families – said the parents of Ariel Evangelista and Anna Mariz Lemita sent a letter to Guevarra.
In their letter, Imelda, mother of Ariel, and Rosenda, mother of Anna Mariz, told Guevarra:
“Nais naming ipahayag ang aming pagnanais na makipagdiyalogo at makipagpulong sa inyo hinggil sa imbestigasyon sa nangyari sa aming mga anak noong Marso 7 (we express our desire to hold a dialogue and meet with you concerning the ongoing investigation over the deaths of our children).
“Kaming mga pamilya ay bukas na makipag-usap sa inyong tanggapan para sa interes ng hustisya sa karumal-dumal na pamamaslang sa aming mga anak (Our families are open to talk with you in your office in the interest of seeking justice for the brutal killings of our children).”
Ariel and Anna Mariz, members of the Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan, were suspected to have links with the communist terrorist group in Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Batangas.
Guevarra had said that the March 7 deaths of the nine activists have been under probe by special investigating teams (SITs) formed by the Administrative Order (AO) 35 Inter-Agency Committee on nter-Agency Committee on on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right of Life, Liberty and Security of Persons.
He said the SITs will look into allegations that the deaths are extra-judicial killings (EJKs).
In their letter, the two mothers told Guevarra that they are prepared to do “ang mga kinakailangang hakbang, gaano man kahirap, upang mabigyang katarungan ang pagpaslang sa kanila (all the necessary steps, no matter how difficult, to be able to bring justice for their deaths).”
Karapatan said that last March 7 couple Ariel and Anna Mariz were “sleeping with their 10-year-old son ‘Nonong’ in their seaside hut in Barangay Calayo, Nasugbu, Batangas when the police forcibly entered it at around 4 a.m. to serve a search warrant issued by Presiding Judge Jason Zapanta of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 174 to supposedly seize two hand grenades from the couple.”
“Their neighbors heard gunshots and screams for mercy from the hut before the couple were taken away. As the police left, their neighbors and relatives went to the hut and found ‘Nonong,’ who witnessed the raid, hiding under the bed. Rosenda Lemita proceeded to look for the couple in hospitals and funerals until she found their dead bodies in John Paul Funeral Home in Nasugbu, Batangas later that afternoon,” it added.
It said the couple’s group is “a community organization monitoring the impacts of eco-tourism projects in Batangas.“