Papua New Guinea national posts bail, flies back home ‘to unwind, relax’-A A +A
Thursday, September 13, 2012
THE foreign national who was beaten up by two Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) members after he ran amuck flew back home to Papua New Guinea yesterday morning.
But before leaving, Benedict Peniai, 29, filed a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) 7 against PO1 Phillip James Tanza and PO2 Bradford Lavandero last Tuesday afternoon.
On the same day, Peniai (not Penini as earlier reported) was charged with resistance and disobedience to authority before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC).
But he gained temporary freedom after posting P2,000 bail. MTCC Branch 4 Judge Rosabella Tormis signed the release order.
The court expects Peniai to attend the court hearing on an appointed date.
The case will be raffled off next week to determine what court will handle Peniai’s case. The court will then will set the date for the arraignment.
During arraignment, Peniai will be informed of the charge against him. It will not take place if the accused and his counsel are not present in court.
If the accused fails to show up for a court appearance, the judge can issue an arrest warrant.
Lawyer Fritz Lastimoso said they will still have to discuss when Peniai will return to Cebu.
The lawyer said Peniai went home as he wanted to unwind and relax.
CHR 7 Chief Investigator Primo Cadampog said they are still waiting for Peniai’s affidavit as he did not issue a formal statement last Tuesday.
“His (Peniai) lawyer promised us that the affidavit will be given within this week,” said Cadampog in a phone interview.
He added that after the affidavit, they will send a subpoena to Tanza and Lavandero.
“The two will be given 10 days to explain and give their affidavit to us also,” said Cadampog.
BI Cebu Alien Control Officer Casimiro Madarang III said Peniai arrived in Cebu last June 13 and his temporary visitor’s visa was extended until Oct. 11, 2012.
BI Cebu corrected earlier media reports that his surname is Penini. The correct surname as reflected in his travel documents is Peniai. His photo and correct spelling also appeared in his Facebook account.
Madarang said Peniai was enrolled at the University of Southern Philippines Foundation and on his behalf, the school liaison officer applied for 9f (student visa) conversion last July 31.
Madarang said that only the school liaison officer can apply for student visa in behalf of the students.
Lastimoso said that there were no directions yet from Peniai’s family on what to do with the case. He added that Peniai is open to all possible options.
The lawyer revealed that when he talked to Peniai, the foreign national could not recall the entire thing that happened last Sunday.
“He said he forgot everything that happened on that day,” Lastimoso said.
Last Sunday, Lavandero and Tanza received a radio message telling them to provide backup to two Mobile Patrol Group (MPG) teams that responded to a trouble alarm outside Alicia Towers in Barangay Banilad.
When they arrived, they saw Peniai allegedly throwing rocks at a group of bystanders.
They approached him and introduced themselves as police officers. Afterwards, they instructed Peniai to put down the rocks.
But Peniai allegedly ignored the warning and instead threw several rocks at Lavandero and Tanza. Peniai then allegedly struck the jaw of taxi driver Giovanni Catib, 33, with a rock.
Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Melvin Ramon Buenafe defended the two Swat operatives who are now being investigated, after a video of the beating made it to local and national newscasts.
“The thought that the Swat team is willing to risks their lives was not highlighted. I hope the people will not judge based on what they saw in the footage,” said Buenafe.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 13, 2012.