Dismissed murder charge 17 cops questioned

Expert forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun on Thursday described the dismissal by the Department of Justice of a murder charge against 17 policemen in the 2021 “Bloody Sunday” operation as “crazy,” saying her forensic report on the remains of labor leader Manny Asuncion had been twisted.

Fortun said her autopsy of Asunción’s body had suggested a homicide.

“I find their arguments crazy. They even twisted my findings, my report,” Fortun said.

The DoJ, in dismissing the murder complaint, said the autopsy “did not provide any findings or suggestion as to who caused the said injuries.”

Fortun said the DoJ prosecutors wanted her to identify the assailants in her report.

“We don’t do that, that’s crazy,” Fortun said. “It tells you that you don’t understand what forensic investigation is all about. Is this a determined, concerted effort to simply dismiss the case?”

The murder rap against the 17 cops over the killing of the labor leader on 7 March 2021 was junked by the DoJ. The resolution also said that Asuncion’s wife, Liezel, was not able to adequately substantiate her allegations against the police officers.

Liezel Asuncion earlier said the men in police uniform wore ski masks and had their nameplates covered with red cloth.

Fortun said it was difficult to say who had shot the victim.

“You have physical evidence. This is where an independent, scientific, objective investigation should come in,” said Fortun, adding that in the Philippines generally, the cops who did the killing did the investigations themselves.

She wondered if the dismissal of the murder complaint was part of the DoJ’s move to improve the conviction rate in criminal cases, adding that before filing, a case must be airtight.

Fortun said that even if the NBI stepped in, what could it do if the initial investigation was lousy, if the crime scene wasn’t properly processed, if the crime lab was defective, “then what can the NBI do?”

She said she feared that the strategy was if “you don’t want to lose cases then don’t file them. Is that the strategy now?”

Asuncion was 1 of 9 activists killed in simultaneous pre-dawn raids in Cavite, Batangas, and Rizal in what was dubbed as “Bloody Sunday.”

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