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Family condemns ‘torture’ of cancer-stricken detainee

 

By KATE LOUISE B. JAVIER

 

The family of a detainee who died at the Barbosa Community Precinct of Manila Police District (MPD) Station 3 is seeking justice, claiming that the victim was tortured by cops.

“He’s a cancer patient but he died not because of his illness but because he was tortured by the police,” said Aarun Rafael, brother of the victim, Allan Rafael, 35, a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) diagnosed with lymphoma cancer.

Aarun wrote a post on Facebook as he seeks justice for the death of his younger brother.

“When we visited him last Sunday, he was still strong. He said he was beaten up in the chest, slapped and hurt by the police so he will admit using illegal drugs, even as he had just undergone an operation,” Aarun wrote on Facebook post dated Aug. 7.

“But yesterday (Aug. 6), we were shocked when they told us that my brother is already dead,” he added.

 

— ‘LEGITIMATE ARREST’ —

Manila Police District homicide section chief Senior Inspector Rommel Anicete disclosed that Rafael was arrested together with his boardmate Sherwin Angeles on Claro M. Recto Avenue on Aug. 2.

Emphasizing legal arrest, Anicete said members of Barbosa Police Community Precinct apprehended the two men for “breaching of peace,” as the suspects were reportedly engaged in a commotion.

Arresting officers claimed that they seized two sachets of suspected shabu from the suspects. They also tested positive for illegal drugs and underwent inquest proceedings on Aug. 4.

 

— ‘HELD AT CHECKPOINT’ —

However, Aarun denied the allegations.

According to him, Rafael told him that he was onboard a motorcycle when he was arrested at a checkpoint. He was on his way to fetch his wife in Malate, Manila. The police officers allegedly took Rafael’s watch and instructed him to withdraw cash.

“When he arrived at the precinct, he was forced to admit that he’s a drug user because he looks like an addict according to them. Of course, he’s thin because he was undergoing chemotherapy for his cancer,” Aarun said.

The family of Rafael believed that there was foul play behind the death of their relative.

Aarun said they saw blood on Rafael’s feet and wound in his neck.

The MPD, however, denied allegations of police brutality as the cause of death of Rafael.

A report reaching MPD director Chief Supt. Rolando Anduyan said Rafael suffered difficulty in breathing and vomited blood around 6 a.m. on Aug. 6, prompting the duty jail officers to rush him to Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.

According to Anicete, medico-legal report showed that the detainee died due to cardio-respiratory arrest, saying there were no signs of external injuries.

“Prior to his arrest, he’s already sick. We are aware of that because he told us,” Anicete said.

Anicete said the police even initiated to allow Rafael to stay in Borbosa precinct due to his condition while Angeles was transferred to MPD Station 3.

 

— ‘ALREADY EMBALMED’ —

Aaron said they found his brother’s body already embalmed in a funeral parlor.

“It was just half-embalmed to preserve the body. It didn’t affect the autopsy conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation,” Anicete explained.

Meanwhile, Anicete said investigation is now ongoing to shed more light on the case, saying charges will be filed against the involved officers if they find lapses.

“Right now, we don’t see any lapses of our men,” he said.

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