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MANILA, Philippines – Labor group Kilusang Mayo (KMU) is demanding justice for a slain labor leader whose body has yet to be turned over to his family.
On Thursday, October 5, the labor group held a rally in front of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s (PNP CIDG) headquarters in Quezon City to decry the killing of unionist Jude Thaddeus Fernandez in Binangonan, Rizal on September 29.
“‘Di na po makatao ang ginagawa ng PNP at CIDG kay Ka Jude at sa kanyang pamilya. Limang araw na po mula nang paslangin siya at dalhin kung saan-saan, at ngayon hindi nila ibinibigay. Ang hangad po ng kapamilya at mga kasamahan ni Ka Jude ay makapagluksa nang matiwasay at malaman ang katotohanan sa likod nitong brutal na krimen ng kapulisan,” KMU secretary general Jerome Adonis said.
(What the PNP and the CIDG did to Jude and to his family was inhumane. It’s been five days since he was killed and was brought to several places, yet his body has yet to be claimed by his family. Jude’s family and colleagues want to mourn peacefully and know the truth behind this gruesome killing committed by the police.)
However, Binangonan police authorities said there was no record of the death of Fernandez. Instead, the cops said, a different person was killed in a police operation in the Rizal province town that day.
KMU said that at around 4 pm on September 29, PNP CIDG personnel allegedly shot dead Fernandez shortly after the police entered the labor leader’s house. The police were serving a search warrant when Fernadez allegedly “fought back,” forcing the cops to allegedly shoot back at the labor leader, killing him.
However, the KMU refuted this report and said Fernandez did not bear any firearm because he was a labor leader. Fernandez is the 72nd victim of labor-related killings since 2016, the KMU said.
The KMU said based on its fact-finding mission conducted alongside Gabriel Representative Arlene Brosas and former Bayan Muna representaive Ferdinand Gaite, “there were no signs of resistance on the part of Fernandez” during the operation.
“Walang nanlaban. ‘Yan ang resulta ng aming fact-finding. Walang-awa pong pinatay ng CIDG at ng gobyernong Marcos ang aming kasamahang si Jude Fernandez. Pamamaraang terorista ang ginamit sa isang unyonista,” Adonis added.
(Fernandez did not fight back. That was the result of our fact finding. The CIDG and the Marcos government mercilessly killed our colleague Jude Fernandez. Terrorist tactics were used against a unionist.)
Rappler reached out to the PNP CIDG, but they have yet to respond to our queries as of writing. Rappler will update this story as soon as the PNP CIDG provides its side.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Eduardo Balita, Binangonan police officer-in-charge, told Rappler that there was no Jude Thaddeus Fernandez in their records. Instead, it was a certain Oscar Dizon who was reportedly killed during the CIDG operation in the town. He added that the PNP CIDG carried out the operation.
The copy of the blotter report from the barangay seen by Rappler also stated that a certain Oscar Dizon died after firing at the authorities, who were serving a search warrant.
Adonis refuted this and told Rappler that he personally identified Fernandez as the person who died during the operation. He added that the victim’s sibling also identified that Fernandez was the person killed by the authorities.
Despite being identified by his family, police have yet to turn over Fernandez’s remains to his loved ones, the KMU said. – Rappler.com