Military has no proof Rogelio Villanueva is Eduardo Serrano

"What should have been a hearing to finally determine whether “Rogelio Villanueva” is Eduardo Serrano, a political prisoner detained for more than 10 years now because of false charges, became a hearing to present witnesses who are obviously lying," Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said. 
Eduardo Serrano
 
 
 
Eduardo Serrano was arrested, detained for 11 years and faced false criminal charges of multiple murder, frustrated murder, robbery, multiple frustrated murder, kidnapping meant for Rogelio Villanueva. “After 11 years of detention, it was only this year that the Court of Appeals decided to first resolve the issue of Serrano's identity--whether he and Villanueva are the same—before proceeding to hear the primary case on trial,” Palabay added. 
 
The hearing on October 13 at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 98 should have been the promulgation on Serrano’s identity after the prosecution failed to present its witness. “Yet, in haste, the prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration to allow them to present witnesses, and the court allowed it.” 
 
Two army officers took the witness stand—one does not personally know Villanueva and Serrano; the other saw Villanueva during the ambush and on yesterday’s hearing, pointing to Serrano.  

Major Alex Dalingay Ampati, former company commander of Bravo Company of the 68th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army, admitted in court that Eduardo Serrano’s name is not in the affidavit he submitted in court. Ampati referred to the Order of Battle (OB) with 68 names of supposedly NPA rebels in their Area of Responsibility (AOR). Ampati said he did not participate in drawing up the names in the OB, which was only given to him by their ‘intel’ (intelligence). 

"In short, Ampati does not personally know Villanueva or Serrano, more so the involvement of the either of the two in the March 2003 so-called New People’s Army ambush. This ambush is supposedly the basis of the multiple murder and robbery case against Villanueva and the also the basis of Serrano’s arrest and detention," Palabay said. 
Sgt. Berlin Farinas, the second witness, told the court he was in Pinamalayan, Mindoro Oriental when the ambush happened and saw Villanueva in command of the NPA. He also said he saw Villanueva twice—during the ambush and in court during yesterday’s hearing. The soldiers also showed him a photo of Villanueva when he was in the hospital after the ambush. Asked whether his statement in court was in his affidavit, Farinas said yes. But when the judge again the same question for three times and Farinas still said yes, Judge Runes-Tamang challenged Farinas, "What if I said It was never in your affidavit? Why did you tell this court it was in your affidavit if it really wasn't?"
Farinas took his statement back and said, "I just thought I wrote it in my affidavit." The Judge told to get out of the witness stand. 
The court scheduled  the promulgation on Serrano's identity on October 22.
"We call for the immediate resolution of Serrano's identity and his immediate release. Serrano has been unjustly jailed for 11 years for crimes he did not commit. Such was the case of Rolly Panesa who was mistakenly identified as “Benjamin Mendoza.” 
"Also, the existence of Order of Battle in the military proved that people merely suspected to be “enemies” of the state are targets for neutralization, whether through extrajudicial killing, disappearance, torture and in this case, illegal arrest and detention," Palabay said.  
Serrano was arrested in May 2004. He was incommunicado for a week before he was brought to Calapan Provincial Jail. In 2006, he was transferred to Camp Crame Custodial Center in Quezon City. On September 24, he was unexpectedly transferred to the Special Intensive Care Area-1, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. ###
 

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