AFP should stop weaving a web of lies, release Rolly Panesa now!

“The AFP should stop weaving its absurd lies on Rolly Panesa, to justify its claim to the P5.6M bounty on his head. Tigilan niyo na ang paglulubid ng kwento, tantanan niyo na si Rolly Panesa. Pinagkakitaan niyo na nga yung pagkaaresto at tortyur nung tao,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of rights group Karapatan.

“To this day, almost five months after they got Panesa,  the AFP could neither show proof that Panesa is alleged rebel leader ‘Benjamin Mendoza’ nor repudiate the veracity of the documents submitted by Panesa, as proof that he is not Mendoza,” she said. 

Rolly Panesa 

Karapatan, with Task Force Panesa, composed of church people from different denominations, today held a picket at the Court of Appeals as the spokesperson of the Southern Luzon Command, Col. Generoso  Bolina took the witness stand to defend the AFP’s claim that security guard Rolly Panesa whom they abducted, tortured and jailed, is ‘Benjamin Mendoza’, a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines, with a 5.6 million peso reward. 

“We demand the immediate release of Panesa. This detention is difficult for everyone. It is difficult for Panesa who remains clueless of why he is detained; it is also difficult for the government and the AFP to cook up evidences to prove their claim. The whole case is senseless,” said Palabay. 

Karapatan claims that the government’s desperation to meet Oplan Bayanihan’s 2013 deadline is the motive behind the arrest of innocent civilians like Panesa.  This Oplan Bayanihan deadline also “resulted in an increase in the cases of people who are falsely charged with criminal cases using warrants against John/Jane Does and aliases.” The Department of Justice (DOJ), as early as the 1990’s, issued Circular No. 50, saying that an appropriate description must accompany a particular John/Jane Doe but the practice continues.