2 military men found near wake of slain lawyer freed after posting bail for grave threats
SIPALAY CITY – Two military personnel who were found armed near the wake of slain human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos Jr. were released from detention here at noon Monday after posting bail.
Judge Wenie Espinosa of the Sipalay City Municipal Trial Court in Cities ordered the release of Cpl Rodolfo Alemen Jr. and Makoy Villahermosa after their lawyer posted bail of ₱3,000 each for grave threats.
Police had filed an attempted murder complaint against the two men but the Sipalay City Prosecutor’s Office downgraded the complaint to grave threats, citing lack of clear indication to warrant an attempted murder complaint, according to PO1 Mark Mabayag, investigator of the Sipalay police station.
The two military personnel who were in plainclothes were detained at the police station here after one of them was found to be armed with a handgun near the city gymnasium where the wake of Ramos was held.
When inspected by Sipalay police, one of the men carried an Armed Forces of the Philippines identification card bearing the name of Cpl Rodolfo Alemen Jr.
The other did not have any identification documents.
They refused to answer questions from the INQUIRER.
Lawyers belonging to the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and members of militant organizations sought assistance from the police after they monitored the two men on a motorcycle following a convoy of vehicles from Bacolod City to Sipalay City.
The 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.
Activists who were outside the gymnasium alleged that one of the men showed a handgun tucked in his waist when they drove by.
The two men were brought 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 the two men had firearms but questioned why only one was recovered at the police station.
Clarissa Ramos, widow of the slain lawyer, and colleagues of Ramos flocked to the police station beside the city gymnasium where 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 November 6 in front of a convenience store in Kabankalan City also in Negros Occidental.
Ramos, was a NUPL founding member and secretary general of its Negros chapter.
About 1,000 mostly farmers attended his burial at the Sipalay City cemetery on Sunday.
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