DOJ should include activist’s death in AO35 investigations on EJKs

Published April 26, 2021, 1:26 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra was asked on Monday, April 26, to include in the investigations by the inter-agency committee on extra-judicial killings (EJKs) the April 30, 2020 death of an activist in Iloilo City.

The request was aired in a letter sent to Guevarra by the son of the late Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia, a coordinator of Bayan Muna Iloilo and former consultant of National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) for Region VI.

Guevarra had earlier included the March 7 death of nine activists in South Luzon provinces and the killing of a labor leader in Calamba, Laguna as among the cases being investigated by the inter-agency committee on EJKs.

“We are nowhere in this investigation. We haven’t heard anything from the PNP (Philippine National Police) since he was killed. I want justice for my father, Mr. Secretary…,” Lean told Guevarra in the letter.

Specifically, Lean wanted the probe on his father’s death be done by the Department of Justice (DOJ)-led Administrative Order (AO) 35 Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right of Life, Liberty and Security of Persons.

“I am aware that the Department of Justice has the power and jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute those found guilty of criminal acts, especially those covered under Executive Order 35. Such special powers are enjoyed by your office to expedite and compel state forces to answer allegations of extra-judicial killings. My father should be included in that order as a victim of this brutal and demonic act of murdering an innocent man,” he said.

He said that “days before his assassination, the local PNP has made pronouncements over the radio that he is being placed under surveillance.”

He also said that his father organized community kitchens in the different communities in Iloilo City as a response to the government’s call of “Bayanihan,” (cooperative effort).

But he said the PNP was not happy and “started looking for him.” He added that “a week after this incident, he was killed at around 5 o’clock in the morning in his rented cottage in Arevalo, Iloilo City.”

He described his father as “a veteran activist, surviving the tyranny of Martial [Law] in the 80’s and the many years of vilification and red-tagging/baiting.”