Human rights alliance Karapatan slammed the continued detention of an ailing political prisoner who was reported to have been “illegally arrested” on the basis of a warrant that does not contain his name.
The human rights group also alleged that authorities “planted pieces of evidence” and “perjured testimonies” against 57-year-old trade unionist Ernesto Jude C. Rimando Jr.
Rimando was arrested at his rented apartment in Payatas village in Quezon City on Jan. 6, 2021, by six armed men in plainclothes who used a warrant in the name of “Allan Morales.”
Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay, said Rimando is a “researcher” for the group Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo.
He had been renting his apartment for a year and was in Manila to seek treatment for sepsis and liver cirrhosis.
Palabay said that despite Rimando’s condition, the armed men blindfolded him, bound his wrists with duct tape and began interrogating him and assaulting him physically at his apartment. They stopped only when they heard police sirens.
“Rimando’s neighbors, who witnessed the assault, had apparently called the cops,” said Palabay in a statement.
The arresting team brought Rimando to the police headquarters in Camp Crame where he was allegedly threatened and subjected to further interrogation by another set of policemen.
“It was this second group of police officers who presented themselves as Rimando’s arresting team even if they were nowhere near his place of arrest,” said Palabay.
In his judicial affidavit, Rimando recounted that when he was brought to the inquest fiscal on Jan. 8, 2021, he noticed that his black backpack containing his personal effects and medical records were brought along.
Later, he was to find out that he was being charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, apparently on the basis of “evidence” that had been “planted” in his backpack.
“Despite standing trial for two years, he has yet to see these pieces of ‘evidence,’” said Palabay.
“Rimando’s rights have been violated multiple times. He is a victim of false arrest, since he is not the person named in the warrant used to arrest him,” the human rights advocate said.
“None of the so-called evidence in the illegal possession of firearms and explosives case he is facing was marked in his presence. He never signed an inventory of seized items. He was interrogated several times without benefit of counsel. On top of this, he is seriously ill and has had to be hospitalized a number of times during his two years in detention,” said Palabay.