An urgent appeal from political prisoner Ernesto Jude Rimando

I am Ernesto Jude Rimando, a 1982 graduate of Philippine Science High School and a former Mechanical Engineering student at UP Diliman, where I was a youth organizer.

Throughout my adult life, I have been a staunch advocate for trade union and peasant rights. I entered University at the height of the anti-Marcos dictatorship movement all over the country. I myself actively participated in this movement until the ouster of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the father of our current President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

It was during my involvement in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship that I witnessed first-hand the dire poverty plaguing the country. This experience prompted me to abandon my personal ambitions and dedicate myself to serving the workers and peasants. What was initially a short stint with volunteer work in Cebu evolved into a lifelong vocation. For over 20 years of my life, I conducted research on workers’ conditions in Cebu. I spent 17 years with the Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo.

In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I sought treatment in Metro Manila because I was already suffering from liver cirrhosis and sepsis. Before I could start treatment, however, I was arrested at my rented apartment in Brgy. Payatas, Quezon City on January 6, 2021 by six armed men in civilian clothes who failed to present a warrant and refused to identify themselves. I was blindfolded, tortured and interrogated on the spot. The arresting team also planted firearms and a grenade in my bag and prepared a hastily revised arrest warrant prior to my inquest.

Fortunately, the court saw through the falsity of the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and dismissed the case. But I am still detained on other trumped-up charges, because military complainants in these charges allege that my name is “Allan Morales” – an outright falsity. I still have to face all the other eight trumped up charges against me filed in various courts in the country.

My plight is not unique. In Negros alone, approximately 140 political prisoners languish in jail on trumped-up charges. These prisoners include ordinary farmers, organizers, and volunteer workers who bravely resist feudal exploitation. Negros has also become a hotbed for extrajudicial killings, claiming the lives of hundreds of peasants, organizers, women, lawyers, and human rights defenders.

On May 18 of this year, I was admitted to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for medical tests. It was here that I found out that my liver cirrhosis had progressed to Stage 4 liver cancer. I was also diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary embolism. My doctors have told me that without treatment, I may have only three more months to live. I initially opted for immunotherapy for treatment, though my pulmonary tuberculosis needs to be treated first. A few days after the treatment of my tuberculosis, my doctors stopped the treatment because of adverse side effects and the advanced stage of the cancer. Currently, I am a candidate for palliative care.

In the light of my current medical condition and unjust imprisonment, I am appealing to family and friends, colleagues, and human rights advocates within and outside the country to help in advocating for my immediate release on humanitarian and just grounds. With the help of my lawyers, I have filed a court petition for urgent release. Please help me fight for my life and my freedom.

You may write to the following:

Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., President of the Republic of the Philippines
Fax: +632 742-1641 / 929-3968 / +632 87368621
Email:, or send a message through

Jesus Crispin C. Remulla, Department of Justice of the Philippines Secretary
Fax: +632 521-1614 / +632 85262618

Richard Palpal-latoc, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines Chairperson