Palace vows ‘thorough, impartial’ probe into union leader’s killing

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

October 6, 2023, 6:14 pm

MANILA – Malacañang on Friday pledged to conduct a “thorough and impartial” investigation into the killing of union leader Jude Thaddeus Fernandez during a Sept. 29 police operation.

“We will take concrete steps to mobilize all relevant government agencies towards effectively conducting a thorough and impartial investigation into the matter,” Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin said in a statement.

The assurance came as Bersamin offered Malacañang’s sympathy to Fernandez’s family and affiliated labor groups and unions.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Jude Thaddeus Fernandez, a veteran defender of labor rights and a dedicated trade union organizer. We also extend our condolences to the labor groups and unions whom he has helped,” he said.

Bersamin said the Marcos administration “stands for the creation of a fair and just society for all, and guarantees the inalienability of the people’s fundamental rights and welfare.”

“These basic freedoms must be meaningfully upheld and never curtailed by any form of violence,” he said.

Fernandez was shot dead during the serving a search warrant by agents of the Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP - CIDG) in a house in Binangonan, Rizal where the union leader was staying, according to reports cited by the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).

The KMU refuted the PNP-CIDG’s claims that Fernandez fought back, causing them to fire at him “until he was killed and declared ‘dead on the spot.’”

“We deliberately refute this narrative. Fernandez is a labor organizer and he does not bear arms,” it said. (PNA)