THE WIFE of slain labor activist Emmanuel Asuncion has asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to reconsider its decision clearing 17 cops linked to the murder of her husband during a series of police raids in March 2021 where nine activists died. 

In her appeal filed on Thursday, Liezel Asuncion said the police officers involved in the shooting had the clear intent of committing extralegal killings during the raids. 

“The circumstances surrounding the case show clear conspiracy and evident premeditation,” she said.   

“The fact is that nine unarmed activists were summarily killed on the same date and almost the same time, within minutes of purportedly serving the search warrant issued by the same Vice-Executive Judges of the same court, on the exact same charges, she added.   

The police raids were based on 24 search warrants issued by trial courts in Manila and Quezon City.  

A panel of DoJ prosecutors earlier cleared the law enforcers as they found no probable cause to charge them with the crime.  

They said Ms. Asuncion had failed to see the face of the cops who allegedly killed her husband.  

Federation of Free Workers (FFW) President Jose “Sonny” G. Matula earlier said law enforcement agencies did not do enough to ensure the prosecution of those behind the labor leader’s murder.  

Philippine labor groups on Monday submitted a report on human rights violations against workers and union organizers to the International Labor Organization (ILO), which is conducting its high-level tripartite mission from Jan. 23 to 26.  

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla had said the government does not sanction attacks, harassment or intimidation of activists.  

He said an inter-agency task force on extralegal killings had investigated at least 17,000 police officers. 

The UN Human Rights Committee has said the Philippines should comply with international human rights mechanisms.  

Meanwhile, global watchdog Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged the Marcos administration to issue a directive that would prevent state forces from red-tagging indigenous peoples (IP) and activists opposed to government-backed projects.   

At the same time, the watchdog noted that private firms have been working with the security sector to harass communities opposed to development projects.  

Tagging IP leaders and activists as armed fighters or supporters of the local Maoist insurgency is a deadly practice that puts members of local communities at risk, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.  

The administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. should urgently issue a clear directive to all government officials to stop red-tagging and take appropriate action against those responsible,it said.  

The group said the attacks on indigenous peoples contribute to making the Philippines one of Asias most dangerous countries for environmental activists and land defenders.”   

In a 2021 report, non-profit organization Global Witness said the Philippines was the fourth deadliest country in the world for land and environmental defenders, noting that killings of IPs were rampant in the Southeast Asian nation. 

Indigenous communities have the right to peacefully express their views and protect their land and cultural heritage without fear of violence or death,the group said, citing harassment reports from organization leaders, including Beverly Longid of Katribu who has been targeted for online demonization efforts.  

Human Rights Watch said red-tagging has been used to exclude indigenous communities opposed to state-backed projects from the free, prior and informed consentrequirement, an international principle adopted by the Philippineslaw on IPs. John Victor D. Ordoñez and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza