SAN ESTEBAN, Ilocos Sur , Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the Ilocos region is finally building up a case on the killing of an activist here four years ago.
Lawyer Anita Chauhan, CHR regional director, has ordered police to submit documents and evidence in their possession related to the slay of Jose Manegdeg.
A CHR team led by Chauhan dropped by the local police after visiting the lone witness in the 2005 killing of Manegdeg in Barangay Apatot.
Among the documents that the CHR considers essential are the artist’s sketch by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 1 of Manegdeg’s killer and the photo gallery where the witness identified the suspect – Capt. Joel Castro.
The case was earlier provisionally dismissed when the lone witness recanted his testimony to police investigators.
But in a sudden turn of events, the witness is reportedly cooperating again with the CHR after the agency vowed to give him protection.
Manegdeg was gunned down before midnight on Nov. 28, 2005 along the highway here while he was waiting for a bus ride to Manila.
The gunman reportedly alighted from a van and fired at Manegdeg as he attempted to run away. Autopsy showed that the activist suffered 22 gunshot wounds.
The provincial prosecutor’s office, however, dismissed the case on March 30, 2007 because the witness’ original statement that was submitted was a photocopy, thus violating rules on evidence.
Chauhan said the CHR has classified the Manegdeg slay as a human rights violation, adding that the agency can exercise its power to summon appropriate agencies to build up a case and help in the prosecution.–Artemio Dumlao, Philippine Star