JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday admitted that the AO 35 Task Force’s investigation into the Calabarzon raids, which resulted in the deaths of nine activists and arrests of six others, is being hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of these special investigating teams have already been constituted and sad to say that their movements are somehow restricted by the ongoing situation.”
“But they have started working and they will submit their initial reports to me as the soonest possible time, ” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
The AO 35 task force is a special unit of the Department of Justice that conducts an investigation into politically-motivated killings or extrajudicial killings of members of civil society groups, political movements, people’s and non government organizations, among others.
At least nine activists died and six others were nabbed during the simultaneous police and military operations conducted in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal last March 7.
Initial reports showed that authorities were able to recover explosives, several firearms, and subversive documents during the operations.
The simultaneous raids were carried out by the Philippine National Police together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to serve search warrants for loose firearms and illegal possession of explosives.