Military insists security guard is NPA member
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2013 - 5:03pm

MANILA, Philippines - The military maintains that the arrest of Benjamin Mendoza, whom it claimed to be a communist rebel, last October was not a case of mistaken identity.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said Mendoza and Rolly Panesa, who introduced himself as a security guard, are the same person.

The military claims that Mendoza is the secretary of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee and that ‘Rolly Panesa’ was just his alias.

“We are very firm that Rolly Panesa and Benjamin Mendoza is one and the same person based on facts and witnesses,” Zagala said.

Zagala was asked to react to a Court of Appeals ruling that granted a petition for writ of habeas corpus and ordered the release of the suspected rebel.

The government is planning to appeal the court’s decision, which has triggered anti-military sentiments from activists who claim to be human rights advocates.

“Our solicitor-general, who is holding the case for the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), is already making appropriate motions following the Court of Appeals’ decision to release Benjamin Mendoza,” Zagala said.

Panesa and three others were arrested last October 6 by security forces in Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City.

Military officials claimed that Panesa was behind several violent attacks in Southern Luzon. Militant groups, however, said Panesa is just a security guard and that his arrest was a case of mistaken identity.

The AFP even rewarded P5.6 million to the tipster who provided information that led to his arrest.

Karapatan, a group that claims to advocate human rights, scored the military for putting a bounty on Panesa’s head.

“AFP twisted this case for a P5.6 million racket, packaged as reward, at the expense of Panesa’s rights,” Karapatan said in a statement.

The group said that the court ruling is proof that the military “practices illegal arrest, filing of trumped-up charges, torture and illegal detention against activists and ordinary individuals.”

Karapatan said Panesa should immediately be released from Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, where he is detained.

Zagala, however, maintained that there is no organized racketeering in their bounty system.

“The basis for the capture of Benjamin Mendoza came from legitimate intelligence information that warranted the release of the P5.6 million reward money,” he said.

ARMED FORCES ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AURORA BOULEVARD BENJAMIN MENDOZA CAMP BAGONG DIWA COURT OF APPEALS KARAPATAN MENDOZA AND ROLLY PANESA PANESA ZAGALA
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with