Press Release
March 10, 2021


Senator Richard Gordon called for due process and a prompt investigation on the bloody crackdown that killed nine activists and arrested six across the Calabarzon Region on Sunday, questioning the "culture of elimination" and "climate of kill, kill, kill" seemingly perpetrated by uniformed officials.

Gordon was disgruntled at the joint operations conducted by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, where the former reported they were serving search warrants. "When they have surrounded the house and they have a search warrant, the search warrant is not a license to come in and go in with guns ablazing."

Among those who were killed on what critics call "Bloody Sunday" were BAYAN-Cavite secretary general Manny Asuncion, Batangas fisherfolk leaders Chai Lemita-Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista, and Rizal urban poor group members Melvin Dasigao and Mark Lee Coros Bacasno. Raids in Cabuyao and Calamba, Laguna ended in the illegal arrests of labor leader Esteban Mendoza, BAYAN-Laguna spokesperson Elizabeth Camoral, Karapatan paralegal to political prisoners Nimfa Lanzanas, and COURAGE-Rizal member Eugene Eugenio.

"It does not do well for our armed forces and police that these things are happening," Gordon said, also referring to the stabbing of human rights lawyer Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen, and the encounter that killed Calbayog City, Samar Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and five others. "And followed by this incident again yesterday, nalulungkot po ako at nangangamba na hindi dapat mangyari 'yan."

He also reprimanded Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. for his pronouncements on red-tagging, directives which Gordon said soldiers might follow strictly. "This is where the importance of diplomacy, and military policy comes in. It is only when diplomacy fails that the military goes to war. We are still a democracy, that diplomatic efforts in police and military operations are imperative as these will result in a more peaceful and less violent way, and will not foster fear of the enforcers."

Gordon suggested it would be "safer to tell [Parlade] to calm down, or at least transfer him to a position where perhaps he doesn't have to come up with all those statements." He warned that letting the reins loose on policies would result in dangerous situations for all.

Gordon sought a prompt investigation on the deadly crackdown, and enjoined his fellow lawmakers in the Senate to speak and act on these cases.

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