“Lt. Gen. Bautista is lying” - SELDA

On the Army chief’s statement that Palparan is the last of his kind

The recent statement made by Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, the chief of the Philippine Army drew ire from members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto  (SELDA).

“Lt. Gen. Bautista is lying. There are clones of Palparan in the AFP because it breeds the likes of Palparan. It’s not about dishing out phrases like ‘respect for human rights’. It’s about actual rights violations being committed by the AFP and its paramilitary forces,” said Angie Ipong, Selda Secretary General.

Selda said that illegal arrest, torture and other grave forms of human rights violations continue under the Aquino government Oplan Bayanihan. Activists and even civilians continue to become victims of trumped-up charges as the military tries to beat its deadline to end the “insurgency”.

The recent arrest of Rolly Panesa on October 5 is a proof that people are arrested arbitrarily, and on mere suspicion that he is an ‘enemy of the state’ and based on trumped up charges, in violation of his rights.  

Panesa, a security guard, was illegally arrested by joint elements of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, led by Southern Luzon Commander Maj. General Alan Luga, and the Philippine National Police. He was severely tortured because the military misidentified him for a certain “Benjamin Mendoza,” supposedly the secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Southern Luzon, with a reward of PhP 5.6 million.

Marites Chioco, Panesa’s live-in partner was also abducted, with her daughter and son-in-law. Chioco was forced to admit that she is ‘Ka Luisa’ whom the military claimed as “Mendoza’s” wife.  It was Chioco who saw Panesa blindfolded while his cheeks were bruised, his mouth was swollen and lower jaw pushed in. Panesa’s right ear was also bleeding because of heavy beatings. Rolly Panesa is currently detained at the Security Intensive Care Area (SICA), Metro Manila District Jail in Taguig City for rebellion and frustrated murder.

What happened to Panesa is no different from what Raymond Manalo went through when he was abducted, tortured and detained in 2006 by soldiers under Palparan’s command. “Palparan may be retired but Panesa’s case certainly shows there are other Palparans in the AFP,” added Ipong.

Aside from Panesa, Tirso “Ka Bart” Alcantara, a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) continues to be tortured as he remains detained in isolation at Fort Bonifacio. Other political prisoners like Ramon Patriarca, Allan Jazmines, also a NDFP consultant, and Ericson Acosta, have been charged with trumped-up offenses and are among the 123 political prisoners arrested under the Aquino government. There are currently 401 political prisoners in the country.

“The AFP has a long tradition of being a mercenary, a protector of the interests of the elite, and against the poor. For as long as the AFP exists to protect the interests of the landlord and the big business, the likes of Palparan will continue to exist,” Ipong concluded.

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