AFP opposes impending release of alleged communist rebel-A A +A
Friday, August 30, 2013
THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday maintained the man ordered released by the Court of Appeals is a ranking leader of the communist New People's Army (NPA).
AFP public affairs office chief Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said government lawyers are preparing moves to convince the CA to reconsider its decision in freeing Rolly Panesa, alias Benjamin Mendoza.
"We are very firm that Rolly Panesa and Benjamin Mendoza is one and the same person based on facts and witnesses," said Zagala.
Mendoza was arrested by military forces in Quezon City in October last year based on warrants for pending cases such as rebellion and murder. He is currently detained at the Security Intensive Care Area of the Metro Manila District Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
The CA Fifth Division granted last Tuesday the motion for habeas corpus filed by Panesa’s partner Marites Chioco because he is not Mendoza, contrary to the claim of the military.
Chioco submitted to the court Panesa's birth certificate, baptismal certificate, school records, records of his employment, Social Security System Identification Card and other government-issued documents to establish his identity.
“With the foregoing observations, the Court is convinced that this is a case of mistaken identity,” the decision read. “This Court is satisfied that Panesa is being unlawfully restrained of his liberty. There is no legal ground for his detention.”
About two weeks ago, the military leadership awarded a P5.6-million reward to an informant who provided information that led to the arrest of the man, who officials said is an insurgent leader in Southern Tagalog.
Rights group Karapatan said the reward is the AFP's "moneymaking scheme" allegedly because the fund was "arbitrarily handed over to so-called military assets."
Zagala denied this.
"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. (VR/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)