Release body-worn camera videos to reveal truth on labor organizer Jude Fernandez’s killing

Photo by Kilusang Mayo Uno

October 16, 2023

More than two weeks after the killing of labor organizer Jude Thaddeus Fernandez, rights alliance Karapatan demanded that video footages from the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) operatives’ body-worn cameras in its September 29, 2023 operation be produced and released.

“We call on independent investigating bodies looking into the case of Fernandez, starting on securing and producing these footages as these will reveal the truth on what actually transpired that day, as well as question the claims made by the PNP on Fernandez’s killing,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

The Supreme Court has mandated that police operatives must wear body cameras in the service of warrants, following the Bloody Sunday incidents, among others, which claimed the lives of nine activists in Southern Tagalog in 2021.

Palabay also raised the growing number of incidents that use the “same victim, different name” warrants against their targets, as how the CIDG claimed the killing Fernandez, a different name.

“We are looking into this increasing practice of serving search or arrest warrants using a different name like in other cases of victims,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.

Palabay said this practice sets a dangerous precedent against persons, with the warrants served under a different name, and without verification or proof as to the identity of those whose are being served with them.

“This also makes activists or red-tagged individuals open targets of attacks. Along with the continuous use of the ‘nanlaban’ narrative, the use of warrants with the “same victim, different name” may be repeatedly used without accountability to justify arrests and killings,” Palabay said.

Karapatan cited the case of Ernesto Jude Rimando, Jr., currently detained as a political prisoner, who was served a warrant under the name of a certain Allan Morales.

“While we still have to look into other cases that show this kind of scheme, independent agencies or bodies like the Commission on Human Rights should push through with their investigation, and do something to prevent these acts,” Palabay said.

Fernandez, a labor organizer of Kilusang Mayo Uno, was gunned down on September 29 in his home in Binangonan, Rizal, by elements of the CIDG, who claimed that Fernandez fought back while being served an arrest warrant against a certain Oscar Dizon.