“We’re building a tight case. We are in the process of gathering more evidence against the perpetrators,” says the lead attorney for the families of the three young men
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The bodies of three young men killed in an alleged shootout with police in Sultan Kudarat on December 2 showed signs of being ill-treated and tortured, the lawyer representing the men’s families claimed represents.
Attorney Ronald Torres, the senior legal counsel for the families of the three young men, said so when the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) autopsied the bodies.
Torres said the families of Samanudin Ali, Horton Ansa Jr. and Arsad Ansac agreed to the exhumation and autopsy “in the interests of justice.”
The lawyer said the families also showed photos of the bodies, which showed bruises and other alleged signs of physical abuse, suggesting they were injured before they were shot.
In a video posted to Facebook, Sahabudin Ali questioned the police account that his brother Samanudin and friends were killed in a shootout in the city of Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat.
Sahabudin said his brother had gunshot wounds to both wrists, suggesting he raised his hands when he was shot multiple times.
“Ibig sabihin, nagmamakaawa ang kapatid ko (It means my brother was begging for mercy),” Sahabudin said as he cried.
Torres said he and the families are waiting for the autopsy and forensic reports, which they expect the NBI to release in a week or two.
“The NBI reports will be of great help in finding justice for the murdered teenagers,” he said.
The autopsies were conducted as Senator Robinhood Padilla called for a Senate investigation into the December 2 murders. His resolution received support from Senators Ronald Dela Rosa, Raffy Tulfo and Risa Hontiveros.
Torres met with the families of the slain men Tuesday, December 13, as they began preparing a case against the police officers involved in the alleged shooting.
“We’re building a tight case. We are in the process of gathering more evidence against the perpetrators,” Torres said.
The father and namesake of one of the young men killed, Patrolman Horton Ansa Sr. from Shariff Saydona Mustapha Municipal Police in Maguindanao del Sur, previously criticized his counterparts in Sultan Kudarat when he dismissed their report of the shooting.
Ansa also dismissed claims that his 20-year-old son Horton Jr. and his friends had shabu (meth) and were armed.
“We are police officers and we must protect civilians from harm and not kill them. In this case, they wasted young souls who had dreams,” Ansa said in a previous interview.
Lambayong Police Chief Major Jenahmeel Toñacao claimed his men exchanged gunfire with Horton Jr., Arshad Ansa and Ali after allegedly ignoring a checkpoint at Purok 4 in the village of Didtaras in the city of Lambayong.
Toñacao claimed police pursued the young men, who subsequently engaged authorities in a shootout, an allegation Torres and the families denied. – Rappler.com