CA decision strengthens anti-torture charges against military/police torturers of security guard Panesa

"The recent resolution of the Court of Appeals denying the motion for the re-arrest of security guard Rolly Panesa strengthens the anti-torture case he filed against his arresting officers and interrogators," said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan. 
 
 
On January 14, 2014, the former Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals, which ordered the release of a security guard mistaken as a high ranking officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, ditched the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and for Order of Re-Arrest for “lack of merit”. The CA said, "There is no reason for the re-arrest of Rolly Panesa." 

The Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and for Order of Re-Arrest was filed by arresting officers of security guard Rolly Panesa led by Insp. Bernardino Camus, Maj. Gen. Alan Luga, Maj. Gen. Eduardo del Rosario, P/CSupt. James Andres Melad, P/SSupt. Manuel Abu. 

The CA, in its decision, said, “… 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.” 

Panesa’s anti-torture counter-charge

On September 4, upon his release, Rolly Panesa filed before the Department of Justice counter-charges of Violation of Anti-Torture Act, Violation of Rights of Persons Arrested, Unlawful Arrest, Incriminatory Machination and Perjury against those who illegally arrested and detained him—the same respondents named in the writ of habeas corpus filed before the Court of Appeals.        

Lt. Gen. Alan Luga, Commanding General of the AFP Southern Luzon Command and Atty. Alex Alberto Popanes of  Judge Advocate General Office of the Philippine Army (JAGO) submitted to the Department of Justice their counter-affidavits and rejoinder on Panesa’s counter-charge. Lt. Gen. Luga and Atty. Popanes both denied responsibility on the illegal arrest, detention and torture of Panesa as they insisted on their earlier position that Rolly Panesa is a certain “Benjamin Mendoza”. 
 
"The military respondents are like two-faced monsters. While denying their part on Panesa's arrest and imprisonment they want him re-arrested. They never learned. They never tire of churning out lies to the point of ridiculously contradicting themselves,” Palabay said.   
 
Panesa, after being arrested, tortured and detained under the warrant of arrest for Benjamin Mendoza was released on August 31, 2013. He was detained for ten months. 
 
"We hope that the DOJ will find weight on the recent CA decision so that Panesa's torturers, arresting police and army officers, like Lt. Gen. Luga, Atty. Popanes will be punished for such grave violations. We want them prosecuted, jailed and, not promoted as what happened to the likes of Baladad, Año and other military officials. The case of Panesa should never happen again," Palabay ended. ###