Antonio Molina (also Domingo Ritas) is shown wearing a yellow polo shirt in these photos provided by Karapatan ST. The photos were taken during his court hearing in Puerto Princesa City.


Friends and families of ailing rebel suspect  Antonio Molina (a.k.a Domingo Ritas), who is detained at the Puerto Princesa City Jail (PPCJ), are appealing for humanitarian medical help as he is reportedly suffering from swollen lymph nodes and is currently bedridden.

In a statement sent Tuesday (December 15) to Palawan News by Casey Cruz of Karapatan Southern Tagalog (KST), she said Molina’s friends and families relayed their appeal for him through the Kapatid Timog Katagalugan (KTK), an organization of families and friends of political prisoners.

“He is already old and sick. Even before his illegal arrest with his co-accused, collectively known as Palawan7, tatay Antonio has been suffering from swollen lymph nodes and severe pain when urinating due to hypertension and kidney problems,” the statement said.

It said that during the pandemic, Molina’s condition has become worse because his lymph nodes have enlarged and have been described by his cellmates as “kasing laki ng pakwan”.

The statement claimed Molina is already bedridden and feels sore.

“With this, we are appealing for your help in the form of a referral to a hospital or doctor whose specialization is prostate diseases and the likes for his legal counsel to be able to file a motion for hospitalization in court,” the statement said.

Molina is “okay,” says PPCJ warden

However, PPCJ warden Jail Senior Insp. Irene Gaspar, in an interview with Palawan News, said Wednesday that claims that Molina is now confined to bed are not true.

Gaspar said he is “regularly permitted by the court” to undergo checkups.

“Hindi siya bedridden, naglalakad-lakad nga siya. Makailang beses na namin din siyang napa-checkup, basta may court order saka namin siya dinadala sa ospital. Nagulat lang kami na saan nila nakuha ‘yon na bedridden siya?” she asked.

“Another request niya is for CT scan. Mino-monitor din siya ng jail nurse,” Gaspar added.

Informed about this in a separate interview Wednesday, Cruz said it was good to hear that Molina is doing okay at the PPCJ.

Information that he was bedridden, she said, came from Glendhyl Malabanan, one of the suspected NPA leaders who were also detained at the city jail.

“Yon kasi yong ano… noong tumawag sila Glen (Malabanan) sa amin. Pero kung ganoon, mas okay. Nag-base lang din naman kami sa mga ano… noong binigyan nila ng chance na makatawag sa amin sila ma’am Malabanan sa amin, yon yong claim,” Cruz said.

“Siyempre hindi rin naman kami nakakatawid para makita yong… actually, twice nang pinostpone yong hearing nila with kina Atty. [Sol] Taule. Hesitant sila kasi nga, ano din, protocol,” she added.

She said it was okay that it was verified that Molina is not bedridden. However, they are hoping that he can be helped to receive a full examination to determine why his lymph nodes are swelling.

Cruz explained that Molina’s lawyers can only submit a motion to the court if a specialist can be recommended to make a fresh check on his physical condition and if he can be confined in a hospital.

“Kaya din nag-a-appeal kami. So, si Kapatid kaya naghahanap ng contact ng doctor na puwedeng mag-checkup sa kanya. Kapag pumayag ang doctor na mag-examine kay Mr. Molina, that’s the only time na makakapag-file ng motion sa court,” Cruz said.

Molina was among seven persons who claimed to be human rights workers and volunteers but were arrested for illegal possession of firearms and explosives by police and military authorities conducting a checkpoint in Puerto Princesa City in October 2019.