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ARMED NEAR WAKE OF LAWYER

Cops nab 2 men trailing NUPL convoy in Sipalay

/ 01:24 AM November 18, 2018
Two suspects at the Sipalay City Police Station

The two suspects (seated) at the Sipalay City Police Station (Photo by NESTOR P. BURGOS JR. / Inquirer Visayas)

SIPALAY CITY, Negros Occidental — Two men suspected to be military personnel in plainclothes were detained in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental on Saturday evening after one of them was found to be armed with a handgun near the wake of slain human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos Jr.

Members of the Sipalay City Police Station found one of the men carrying an Armed Forces of the Philippines identification card bearing the name of Cpl. Rodolfo Alemen Jr.

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The other man did not have any identification documents.

They refused to answer questions from the INQUIRER.

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Lawyers belonging to the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and members of militant organizations sought police assistance after they noticed the two men on a motorycle following a convoy of vehicles from Bacolod City to Sipalay City.

A third man in a silver pick up was also following the convoy, which included NUPL national officers, among them Edre Olalia, the national president of the lawyers’ group.

Seized 45-caliber pistol

The .45-caliber pistol seized from one of the suspects (Photo by NESTOR P. BURGOS JR. / Inquirer Visayas)

The two men were taken to the police station, but it was only an hour after that they were frisked and a handgun was recovered from Alemen who also carried identification cards with a different name.

Reylan Vergara, secretary general of the human rights group Karapatan, said both men had firearms but questioned why only one was recovered at the police station.

Police officers only frisked the two men and took the identification cards an hour after they were brough to the station.

PO1 Mark Mabayag, investigator of the Sipalay City Police Station, said they were still determining if the firearm had a valid permit and if the two men have legal orders to carry it.

Lawyers and activists were also planning to file other complaints after one of the men allegedly showed his gun tucked in his pants when they drove by the gymnasium before they were detained.

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Clarissa Ramos, widow of the slain lawyer, and colleagues of Ramos flocked to the police station beside the city gymnasium were the wake was being held.

“My husband is dead and his remains lie nearby. And yet these people continue to harass and threaten us. They don’t even respect our mourning,” she told the INQUIRER at the police station.

A gunman accompanied by an accomplice shot dead Ramos on Nov. 6 in front of a convenience store in Kabankalan City also in Negros Occidental.

Ramos, NUPL founding member and secretary general of its Negros chapter, will be buried on Nov. 18. /atm

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TAGS: Benjamin Ramos Jr., National Union of People's Lawyers, NUPL, Rodolfo Alemen Jr., slain lawyer
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