CA affirms habeas corpus decision on ‘NPA leader’
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals (CA) yesterday affirmed its ruling ordering the military to release Rolly Panesa, the security guard mistakenly arrested and tagged as communist leader Benjamin Mendoza by authorities in 2012.

In a resolution last Jan.14, the former Fifth Division of the appellate court dismissed for lack of merit the urgent motion for reconsideration and for Panesa’s re-arrest that was filed by arresting officers led by Inspector Bernardino Camus, Maj. Gen. Alan Luga, Maj. Gen. Eduardo del Rosario, Chief Superintendent James Andres Melad, and Senior Superintendent Manuel Abu.

The CA stood by its decision in August last year, saying there is “no reason” for the re-arrest of Panesa.

“As we have emphatically been stating, the detained person, Rolly Panesa, is not the same person as Danilo Benjamin Mendoza. Rolly Panesa is his real name and it can never be his alias, as what was stated in the commitment order. Hence, there can be no justification for his continued detention,” it said.

In its appeal filed through the Office of the Solicitor General, the military asked the CA to reconsider its ruling and instead dismiss Panesa’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus since the case should have been handled by a trial court.

The military argued that Panesa’s detention “is a virtue of a valid commitment order.”

But the CA did not agree and ruled there was no valid proof that Panesa and Mendoza are the same person.

Panesa, after being arrested, tortured and detained under the warrant of arrest for Mendoza, was released on Aug. 31 last year.

Panesa cried for justice for his detention for almost 11 months at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City since his arrest on Oct. 5, 2012 and sought the indictment of two military officials and eight police officers for unlawful arrest, incriminatory machination and torture.

He filed a complaint before the Department of Justice against former Armed Forces’ Southern Luzon Command (Southcom) chief Maj. Gen. Alan Luga and 2nd Infantry Division commanding officer Maj. Gen. Eduardo del Rosario.

Also charged for the same offenses were Melad, former Region 4 police director; Abu, Region 4 police intelligence chief; and Chief Inspector Reynaldo Mendoza, Inspector Bonifacio Guevarra, SPO1 Christopher Flores, PO2 Ariel de la Cruz, PO2 Joseph Fernandez, and PO1 Ellior De Lima.

Panesa also filed perjury charges against Southcom spokesman Col. Generoso Bolina; and Grajo Rayos, Micheal Rojo Alvarado and Erwin Rosales, the alleged rebel returnees who identified him as Mendoza during the CA hearing on the habeas corpus petition filed by his family.

 

ALAN LUGA ARMED FORCES BENJAMIN MENDOZA CAMP BAGONG DIWA CHIEF INSPECTOR REYNALDO MENDOZA CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT JAMES ANDRES MELAD CHRISTOPHER FLORES MAJ PANESA ROLLY PANESA
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